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Vladivostok Man Convicted Of Hate Speech For Trash-Talking 'Russians'

Prosecutors say a 28-year-old man from Vladivostok in Russia's Far East has been convicted of hate speech for denigrating ethnic Russians during a volleyball game that turned heated.

A court in the far eastern city handed the man a two-year suspended sentence after he was found guilty of hate speech on a local playground last year, regional prosecutors said in a March 14 statement.

The man, an English language teacher whose name has not been released by authorities, "used phrases" during the July volleyball game that disparaged "Russians," investigators said in December, using the word that refers to ethnic Russians rather than citizens of Russia.

The Sova Center, a respected Moscow-based group that monitors the use and abuse of extremism legislation, said in December that it believes the man was wrongly charged with hate speech.

Investigators said officers from the regional branch of the Federal Security Service, Russia's main security agency, initiated the case over the man's outburst on the volleyball court.

They said the man "admitted his guilt," though this assertion could not be immediately corroborated.

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