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Contract Killings


Friday, 18 January 2008

Sasha the Soldier

Eleven men convicted of being members of a brutal organized crime group received prison sentences of up to 24 years Wednesday, and one of them, who had expected to be released for cooperating with investigators, fainted in shock in the courtroom.
The defendants, members of the Orekhovskaya-Medvedkovskaya crime group, committed scores of violent crimes in the 1990s and killed 18 people, including reputed hit man Alexander Solonik and his girlfriend, prosecutors said.
A jury convicted the 11 men on Aug. 10, and Moscow City Court Judge Vladimir Usev handed down the prison sentences Wednesday.
Oleg Pylev, who was convicted as one of the group's leaders, received the toughest sentence, 24 years.
Alexander Pustovalov, a reputed hit man known as Sasha the Soldier because of his former military service, got 23 years, which will be tacked on to a 22-year sentence he received last year in connection with a series of contract killings. Prosecutors said Pustovalov strangled Solonik and later dismembered his girlfriend in Greece in 1997.
After the jury delivered its guilty verdict last week, Prosecutor Anton Karetnikov asked that Pylev be sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Karetnikov also asked that defendants Andrei Filippov and Oleg Tolstikov be given eight-year suspended sentences because they had provided invaluable assistance to the prosecution's case.

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