Wed, Apr 14, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Moscow judge killed in shooting

AP , MOSCOW

A judge who sentenced neo-­Nazis to prison for hate killings was gunned down on Monday, marking the latest murder in a surge of violence against activists and officials opposed to Russian nationalists.

Moscow City Court judge Eduard Chuvashov was shot contract-style in the stairwell of his apartment building in central Moscow, Russia’s top investigative body said.

The murderer used a silencer and left no shells, but investigators obtained footage from surveillance cameras showing a tall Slavic man, about 30 years old, coming out of Chuvashov’s apartment building shortly after the killing, it said.

“We have definitive leads,” investigator Pyotr Titov said in televised remarks.

A leading rights group pointed the finger at a far-right ultra-nationalist group with alleged ties to Kremlin-backed youth movements, saying it may have links to the murder and had incited hatred for Chuvashov on the Internet. A nationalist leader denied the accusations.

Russia has experienced a surge of xenophobia and racially motivated assaults in the years after the Soviet collapse, and the number of neo-Nazi groups has mushroomed.

As the nation struggles through an ongoing economic meltdown, nationalist groups have targeted dark-skinned migrants from ex-Soviet Central Asian nations and Russia’s own North Caucasus region, accusing them of stealing jobs from ethnic Russians.

Chuvashov, 47, presided over several high-profile cases that involved hate killings committed by neo-Nazis and skinheads.

In February, Chuvashov presided over the trial of the White Wolves, a gang of mostly teenaged skinheads who kicked and stabbed their victims to death, often videotaping the attacks and posting them online. They were convicted by a jury of the killings of six Central Asian people and Chuvashov sentenced them to up to 23 years in jail.

Chuvashov began receiving threats during the trial, a Moscow-based hate crime monitoring group, Sova, said.

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