Russia charges synagogue stabber with hate crimes

January 13, 2006 17:07


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Russian prosecutors said Friday a young man accused of attacking worshippers at a Moscow synagogue has been charged with racially motivated attempted murder, assault and actions aimed at humiliating national or religious groups. The Moscow prosecutors' office said Alexander Koptsev, 20, had said during interrogation that he had committed the crime "out of envy for them (Jews), since they live better" and that he had been inspired by books and Internet sites. He also told investigators that one of his motivations was "my desire to die," it said. Koptsev said in televised comments that he was retracting initial statements he made in custody, but it was unclear whether he was referring to the comments the prosecutors made public. "While in custody, I made statements. I retract them," he said from behind the bars of a courtroom cage in footage shown on state-run Rossiya television, his hair very short and his face marked with cuts and bruises. But he added that he later made accurate statements. Moscow prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment.

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