Russia hate crimes up 13 percent in 2007: rights group

[JURIST] Hate crimes [JURIST news archive] in Russia rose 13 percent in 2007 over 2006, but police have done little to stop attacks, according to a Tuesday report by the SOVA Center [advocacy website] rights group. Deputy Director Galina Kozhevnikova told reporters that race-related crime resulted in 67 deaths and 550 injuries in 2007, with African students, Asian visitors, and anti-Nazi activists the most frequent victims. He criticized Russian authorities for not adequately responding to the increase in violence, saying that many hate crimes were only prosecuted as incidents of hooliganism, which would carry a lighter sentence. Kozhevnikova added that while hate group leaders were prosecuted last year for distributing "xenophobic materials," many pro-government groups, including popular youth group Nashi [group website, in Russian], have adopted ethnocentric and racist slogans.

Last June, rights watchdog Human Rights First [advocacy website] reported that hate crimes are on the rise throughout Europe [JURIST report], after conducting a study examining recent hate crimes in France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. That study found a "proliferation of violent hate crimes directed against ethnic, religious and national minorities" in Russia especially. AP has more.

 

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