Russia nationalist leader jailed for life over hate crimes

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Ilya GoryachevImage source, AP
Image caption,
Ilya Goryachev was found guilty of involvement in five murders on ideological grounds

A Moscow court has sentenced a Russian nationalist leader to life in jail for his role in a series of hate crimes, including the murders of a prominent human rights lawyer and a journalist.

Ilya Goryachev, 33, was earlier found guilty of ordering five killings, setting up an ultra-nationalist group and illegally possessing weapons.

Goryachev denies all the charges. When the judge read the verdict, he collapsed in court.

He is expected to launch an appeal.

'Think twice'

Announcing its decision on Friday, the Moscow city court said the life sentence reflected the "exceptional danger of the defendant for the society".

Earlier this month, Goryachev was found guilty by a jury of multiple crimes, including involvement in five murders on ideological grounds.

Among those killed by his BORN (Combat Organisation of Russian Nationalists) group were lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova. They were both shot dead on a busy Moscow street in 2009.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
In this 2009 photo, a woman places flowers next to portraits of Stanislav Markelov, (right) and Anastasiya Baburov at site of their murders in Moscow

In an emotional speech after the ruling, the mother of one of Goryachev's victims said she hoped the life imprisonment "would force others to think twice before committing such crimes".

Goryachev, who studied history at Moscow's university, had been hiding in Serbia before his extradition in 2013.

Several other members of BORN had already been prosecuted and are serving long prison sentences.