News Brief

Student Sentenced to Eight and a Half Years for Murder of Gay St. Petersburg Journalist

A court in St Petersburg has sentenced 22-year-old student Sergey Kosyrev to eight-and-a-half years in a penal colony for the murder of Russian journalist Dimitry Tsilikin on the night of March 27, 2016.

The Russian news agency RAPSI reported that in a closed court hearing Kosyrev was found guilty of stabbing Tsilikin over 30 times and stealing the journalist’s laptop, mobile phone and 43,500 rubles ($768) in cash.

Investigators concluded that the murder was the result of a “sudden quarrel” between the pair, who are believed to have met online. However, friends of Tsilikin as well as several figures of St. Petersburg’s cultural elite called for the murder to be classified as a hate crime on the grounds that Tsilikin was gay.

During police questioning, Kosyrev had asked to be referred to as “the cleaner” and described his life as “a crusade against a particular social group.”

Kosyrev had previously confessed to the murder, but his lawyer told RAPSI that the sentence was “too harsh” and will appeal to have it reduced to the minimum term of six years.