Nine people convicted of the ethnically motivated murder of Central Asian migrants were jailed for up to 23 years by a Moscow court on Thursday.
The trial of the alleged members of a neo-Nazi group dubbed the "White Wolves" underscored the persistence of racist crimes by extreme nationalists and white supremacists in Russia.
A Moscow City Court jury convicted the nine earlier this month of involvement in five murders and one attempted murder, according to SOVA, a Moscow-based non-governmental organization that tracks racist violence.
Three defendants were acquitted, a court spokesman said.
The only minor among those convicted was sentenced to 6-1/2 years in a juvenile prison. The others -- all young men -- were jailed for terms ranging from seven to 23 years.
Prosecutors accused the group's members of carrying out 11 murders and one attempted murder and SOVA said 10 of the victims were from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, ex-Soviet republics in Central Asia.
Violent ultranationalists often attack migrant workers from poor nations in Central Asia and the Caucasus, who come to Russia and often have menial jobs and squalid living conditions, as well as African and Asian students and Russians who do not look Slavic.
At least 60 people were killed and 306 injured in hate attacks in Russia last year, according to SOVA.
Moscow's police chief said last month that 62 attacks on people of non-Slavic appearance were registered in the capital last year, including 26 murders.
Critics say the Kremlin must do more to stem ethnic hatred.
ReutersLast Mod: 26 Şubat 2010, 08:16