Russian cemetery vandals sent to jail

A Russian judge sent three of four teenagers who vandalized a Jewish cemetery in Siberia to prison.

Cemetery vandals in Russia typically are charged with hooliganism, but the teens were convicted on the more serious charge of “damaging a cemetery motivated by ethnic hatred” and thus received the stiffer sentences. Authorities said they were drunk when they damaged 61 gravestones in Krasnoyarsk last October.

At last week’s sentencing, three teens were handed prison sentences of 2 to 2 1/2 years, according to the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. The remaining teen was ordered confined to a psychiatric institution. The teens also were ordered to pay fines.

On Monday, three members of a Russian anti-Semitic group in Blagoveshchensk, a small town on Russia’s border with China, received no prison time after being convicted of inciting ethnic hatred.

Prosecutors collected video clips, extremist literature and eyewitness accounts proving members of the local branch of the Union of Russian People planned to “take action” against Jews, according to a report from the Sova monitoring group. The group members also were convicted of forming an extremist group.

The group’s name comes from an organization that murdered Jews at the beginning of the 20th century.

In Ukraine, a vandal who painted swastikas and neo-Nazi slogans on the mausoleum of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, a famed Berdichev rabbi who died in 1810, was sentenced to a year and a half in prison, Jewish.ru reported.

The 20-year-old vandal was charged with desecrating a cemetery, but it was not labeled a hate crime.

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