Defendant set free from custody in St Petersburg

ITAR-TASS News Agency
August 23, 2004 Monday 7:34 AM Eastern Time

Defendant set free from custody in St Petersburg

By Yulia Andreyeva


The Lenin Federal Court of St. Petersburg continued on Monday its
hearings of the criminal case against participants in the extremist
youth group “Schultz-88”, which the city prosecutors accuse of
inciting ethnic and racial hostilities, public calls for violent
changes to the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and
the involvement of minors in criminal activities.

According to the investigators, members of the extremist group
committed a number of extremist actions in the territory of the city
motivated by ethnic strife and hostility.

In the course of the hearings on Monday, the court set free from
custody one of the defendants – Alexei Vostroknutov, whose term in
custody had expired. Before handing down its sentence, the court has
to consider the conclusions made by the psychiatric experts about the
key defendant and extremist group leader Dmitry Bobrov and hear the
arguments of the prosecution and the defense.

As some of the defendants are under age, the hearings are being held
behind closed doors.

The criminal proceedings against the group were instituted after a
young Armenian citizen was attacked. The attack was at first regarded
as an act of hooliganism but the investigators later understood that
the assailants had been motivated by national intolerance.

According to the investigators’ version, the extremist group was
formed a few years ago and its composition changed fully on several
occasions. In the course of the investigation, videocassettes and
literature with nationalist content were seized from the defendants.

The court will continue the hearings in the case on October 14.