Russia synagogue arson suspect arrested


MOSCOW (JTA) — Officials in a central Russian city arrested a suspect in a synagogue arson case.

In June 2005, a Molotov cocktail was thrown through a broken window in the synagogue in Penza, and three teens were seen leaving the scene, according to a report by the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism. The city’s branch of Russia’s organized crime unit received a tip leading them to the suspect.

The now 20-year-old reportedly is cooperating with the investigation, according to a report by the local news service PenzaNews. The suspect accused of throwing the firebomb, who was detained last week and is now under house arrest, faces up to five years in prison.

The two others who fled the scene will serve as state witnesses in the case, which will be handed over for prosecution by the end of this month.

Any suspects older than 14 at the time of the crime can be tried for hate crimes.

Following a series of attacks in 2005, local community leaders decided to build a fence around the synagogue and community center.

Penza, located about 400 miles southeast of Moscow, is a sister city with Ramat Gan, Israel, according to Wikipedia.

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