Russia jails conscript for 24-1/2 years for killing 8 in shooting spree

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A conscript who confessed to killing eight people in a shooting spree at a Russian military base was sentenced to 24-1/2 years in prison on Thursday.

Ramil Shamsutdinov opened fire on servicemen at the base in the far eastern region of Zabaikalsk on Oct. 25, 2019. He said he was provoked to carry out the attack by violent hazing in the barracks.

Though Shamsutdinov’s sentence was close to the 25-year jail term sought by the prosecution, some of the victims’ relatives said it was too lenient.

“For us the sentence is soft,” Anna Yevseeva, the wife of one of the victims, told the Life media outlet. “We’re not satisfied. What is 25 years compared to the human life of eight people, eight young guys?”

Shamsutdinov was also ordered to pay 9.8 million roubles ($133,000) in compensation, an amount his father said the family would be unable to pay.

“I don’t know what they are counting on. Do they think Ramil is a millionaire or that I am a millionaire?” he said, according to Life. The defence will decide whether to appeal once it has seen the court’s reasoning, the RIA news agency reported.

Shamsutdinov’s defence – that he had been provoked by bullying – drew attention to the hazing of conscripts in the military. Russia’s defence authorities have insisted that they have stamped out notoriously violent hazing practices that were rife in the Soviet and early post-Soviet eras.

In March last year, a court sentenced a serviceman to a suspended two-year sentence for beating soldiers, including Shamsutdinov, RIA reported.

In an open letter circulated by his lawyer on social media, Shamsutdinov said that he regretted he had been unable to restrain himself but he could not take any more mistreatment after his life was made “hell”.

($1 = 73.8800 roubles)

Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Peter Graff