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Russian police arrest teen cemetery vandal

Police arrested an 18-year-old suspected of vandalizing a Jewish cemetery in Russia’s fourth-largest city.

Thirteen gravestones were knocked over or split in two sometime before May 28 when the damage was found, according to the local State Department for Internal Affairs.

The Krasnaya Etna cemetery in Nizhny Novgorod was attacked several more times, as recently as June 8, Regnum news agency reported.

Police are investigating four suspects between the ages of 14 and 18. The arrested 18-year-old confessed to damaging the cemetery.

The youth said he was not motivated by “hatred toward non-Slavic people,” Regnum reported, though he was unable to explain his motivations for damaging the cemetery.

The other youths said they stood by as the arrested suspect vandalized the cemetery and said nothing to stop him, Regnum reported.

In a departure from other similar cases, the youth was not charged with vandalism but with “desecration of the bodies of the deceased and their burial places,” for which he could face five years in jail.

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