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Koptsev confesses attack on synagogue, denies nationalism


Moscow, Russia — The Moscow City Court has opened hearings on the merits over the case of 22-year-old Alexander Koptsev, a resident of Moscow, accused of attacking praying worshipers at a Moscow synagogue early this year.

The defendant confessed the very instance of attacking parishioners, but denied any nationalist motive behind his actions.

“I do confess I caused injuries, but I do not recognize guilt under articles “attempted murder” and “incitement of inter-ethnic discord,” Koptsev said.

The prosecutor read out the bill of indictment. Victims began to be questioned afterwards.

On January 11, 2006 Koptsev forced his way into the synagogue in Bolshaya Bronnaya street, central Moscow, armed with a knife. He attacked members of the Jewish community, stabbing and injuring nine people. He was detained on the crime scene and taken to a detention center.

During the investigation the prosecutor’s office found out that the young men developed a hostile attitude to Jews after reading a number of books and articles in the Internet.

Koptsev kept telling the investigators he confessed the very instance of the attack, but repeatedly claimed he had had no intention of killing anyone. His only intention was infliction of bodily injuries.

Last March the Moscow City Court found Koptsev guilty of attempted murder and sentenced him to thirteen years in a tight security prison. The court acquitted him of inciting ethnic discord.

The lawyers of the plaintiffs disagreed with the sentence and lodged a protest with the Supreme Court.