Neo-Nazi gang leader gets 5 years, 9 months in jail

Judge says leader of Petah Tikva gang, Dmitry Bogotich, “targeted weak populations on the margins of society, who could not defend themselves."

NEO-NAZI gang ‘Patrol 36’ salutes [file] (photo credit: Israel Police)
NEO-NAZI gang ‘Patrol 36’ salutes [file]
(photo credit: Israel Police)
Dmitry Bogotich, the leader of a Petah Tikva neo-Nazi gang that carried out violent attacks against religious Jews, homosexuals, foreign workers and homeless people, was sentenced in the Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday to a prison sentence of five years and nine months.
Judge Judith Amsterdam, passing sentence, said that Bogotich “targeted weak populations on the margins of society, who could not defend themselves” for racially motivated attacks.
According to the indictment, Bogotich and his gang had searched for suitable victims near the central bus station in Tel Aviv and in the streets around the city’s Carmel Market.
The judge spoke of her shock at finding neo-Nazism in the heart of the Jewish state.
“The State of Israel was founded as a Jewish and a democratic state after 2,000 years of exile during which the Jewish people were subjected to persecution and pogroms,” she said.
Amsterdam quoted from Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which describes how the Holocaust was an impetus for founding the Jewish state.
“The revelation that violence based on racist ideologies is reemerging in the State of Israel is horrifying, and reopens the gaping wounds of those Holocaust survivors who are exposed to these events on radio and television,” the judge said.
Police exposed the “Patrol 36” gang neo-Nazi attacks in 2007, and arrested eight gang members.
Bogotich fled to Kyrgystan, but was extradited to Israel and arrested in January.
Bogotich appeared emotionless as he sat in the dock on Thursday, resting his head on his fists as his interpreter translated the judge’s words into Russian.
Bogotich’s mother, with whom Bogotich had lived in Petah Tikva before his arrest, wore a silver star of David necklace to the sentencing hearing. She refused to answer reporters’ questions.
Thursday’s sentencing came after Bogotich’s lawyers signed a plea bargain with the State Attorney’s Office in September, according to which Bogotich admitted to committing offenses of racially motivated aggravated assault, publishing racist material and inciting racism.
The judge noted that attorney Oded Keller, prosecuting, had said in court in September that Bogotich had made ‘obsessive’ video recordings of the gang’s violent attacks. He had later posted the videos on neo-Nazi website “Format 18” and also on the video sharing website YouTube, Amsterdam said.
Bogotich and the other gang members held meetings to discuss Nazi ideology and were photographed making Nazi-style salutes. In one of the photographs, a gang member is pictured saluting next to Nazi insignia and a swastika.
However, as a mitigating factor Amsterdam noted that Bogotich had apologized in court for his role in the attacks.
“When I get out of prison, I will be a loyal Israeli, either in Israel or out of Israel,” Bogotich said during a previous hearing.
After the hearing, Bogotich’s attorney, Yashar Yaakobi, said the court accepted the five years and nine months prison term requested by the defense in the plea bargain. The other members of the gang were sentenced to prison terms following their arrests in 2008.
Judge Zvi Gurfinkel in the Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Eric Buniatov to seven-and-a-half years imprisonment and Alexander Palikh to three years.
Gang member Kirill Malenkov, whose family are Holocaust survivors, was sentenced to three years. Another gang member, who cannot be named because he is under 18, got 26 months in prison.