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Police Only Catch Skinheads When a lot of Noise is Raised and a Reward is Offered

Yesterday, two Moscow adolescents received ten years of incarceration for the murder of a Turkish citizen. The case was under investigation for two years and was brought to an end when embassy compatriots intervened. Yesterday, six Moscow students were arrested and accused of the murder of Sergey Nikolayev, a Yakut chess player. The efficiency of the law enforcement agencies can be explained, in a large part, by the clamor which surrounded the murder. In Yakutia, protests took place where the head of the republic expressed his anger, and this Monday exactly, a diamond-mining company offered a prize of 1.5 million rubles for capturing the criminals. Results emerged. Meanwhile, the search is on for those who have participated in recent attacks in the capital, victims of which were citizens from Vietnam, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Practice shows that without public pressure or monetary awards, no-one rushes to find the racist murderers.

All of Yakutia stirred when it found out that Sergey Nikolayev, the well-known chess player had been killed. According to the version of events, the Yakut fell into the hands of football fans, who were marking the victory of their favorite football club with a racist pogrom. A wave of distress washed over Yakutia, and the company Alrosa declared a 1.5 million ruble reward for information which could be used to find the guilty persons. The reward has not been given to anyone yet, stated Novaya Izvestiya. While the investigation is in progress, it would not make sense to reveal the names of people who provided information on this murder. The conditions for payment, however, have already been established. Human rights activists are sure that the clamor surrounding the matter and the money offered have done their work.

If communities, diasporas or consulates do not specifically direct their attention at these crimes, the investigation will not be very strong, Alexander Tarasov, a specialist on youth extremism from the Felix Center of practical policy study told NI. Lets remember that in Archangelsk, nationalists were constantly attacking natives of post-Soviet republics, and law enforcement agencies were not expedient in investigating these crimes. The matter was activated only when representatives of the diaspora turned to local authorities, clearly expressing that it was difficult for them to hold back local youth and things could reach throat-cutting. Police understood that they had to take up their posts and within a week they detained a whole band of skinheads. Not all diaspora so actively reacted to crimes on ethnic grounds however. Jewish, Azerbaijani and Armenian communities react very strongly, for example.

According to the calculations of human rights activists, this year, more often than not, victims of nationalist attacks were people from Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. All together, according to the facts of specialists from the Moscow Bureau on Human Rights, the number of crimes on grounds of racial hostility doubled this year in comparison with last year. In the course of the first six months of 2007, more than 120 cases of attacks and conflicts on xenophobic grounds were recorded, resulting in 35 deaths. A special mobile unit was created at the Embassy of Tajikistan in Russia, which responds to cases where the victims are migrants. Very often, colleagues from law enforcement agencies attempt to qualify a crime not on nationalist grounds, but, for example, as hooliganism or simply murder, expressed Muhammad Egamzot, press-secretary of the Tajikistan Embassy in Russia to NI. We try to pursue this.

Law enforcement agencies themselves note, however, that crimes on national grounds are difficult to prove and investigate. There needs to be a strong evidence base, so that lawyers do not ruin the case built on nationalist grounds, noted a source in the procuratorship. These matters are so specific that investigators do not like to take on such a big task.

As representatives of the diaspora acknowledge, public influence sometimes does not help in the investigation, and it becomes necessary to link up with personal contacts. Investigators somehow do not act very seriously towards such crimes. Not long ago, one had to contact acquaintances in order to start looking for skinheads who stabbed a Chechen fellow about twenty times, one of the directors of the Chechen diaspora, Khamzat Gerikhanov, told NI. They wanted to qualify the incidence as hooliganism. Practice shows that if there is more pressure put on from above, those suspected are immediately located and the evidence base is added to.

Source: www.newizv.ru


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