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Prosecutors Seek 25 Years For Russian Soldier Who Killed Eight After Brutal Hazing

Russian conscript Ramil Shamsutdinov attends a court hearing in Chita late last year.
Russian conscript Ramil Shamsutdinov attends a court hearing in Chita late last year.

CHITA, Russia -- Prosecutors have asked a military court in Siberia to sentence Private Ramil Shamsutdinov to 25 years in prison for killing eight fellow servicemen in a rampage he says was brought on by the hazing he suffered while being initiated into the army.

The Second Eastern Military District Court resumed the hearing into the high-profile case on January 19, where Shamsutdinov's defense team reiterated that Shamsutdinov had gone on a shooting spree in October 2019, killing eight -- including two high-ranking officers -- in the town of Gorny in the Zabaikalye region after being tortured and beaten by other soldiers and officers during his induction into service.

On December 28, a jury found Shamsutdinov guilty of murder and attempted murder, but decided that he deserves leniency, which according to Russian law means that he may be sentenced to a maximum of 13 years and four months in prison.

The court's officials told RFE/RL that Shamsutdinov’s sentence will be announced on January 21.

The case shocked many in Russia and attracted the attention of rights activists after Shamsutdinov claimed that he committed the act while suffering a nervous breakdown caused by what he had endured.

The Defense Ministry accepted at the time that Shamsutdinov "had a conflict" with one of the officers he killed. In March, Private Ruslan Mukhatov was found guilty of bullying Shamsutdinov and was handed a suspended two-year prison term.

Deadly shootings at Russia's military units as the result of widespread hazing have been a focus of human rights organizations for years.

In November, a soldier at a military air base in the country’s western region of Voronezh shot an officer and two soldiers dead.

In recent years, photos and video footage have been posted online by members of the Russian military that show the severe bullying of young recruits as they are inducted into the army.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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