Moscow, Russia – Prison Service Denies Synagogue Attacker Committed Suicide

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    Moscow, Russia – Prison officials have denied reports that Alexander Koptsev, convicted of stabbing nine people in a Moscow synagogue in 2006, has committed suicide.

    A spokesman for the service said reports that Koptsev is dead are untrue, and that the Muscovite is serving his 16-year sentence in a high-security prison in the Russian republic of Mordovia, in the Volga area.

    In an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio, Vitaly Khavkin, a lawyer representing the victims of the attack, said Koptsev had died in prison. Commenting on the reasons for the suicide, the lawyer said: “This person’s conscience awoke, although he can barely be called a person.”

    Koptsev’s lawyer, Roza Saribzhanova, also denied the rumors, saying: “I called Koptsev’s father and he said that Alexander was doing well.” She added that her client was on good terms with prison officials and had no reason to commit suicide.

    Koptsev, 20, entered the synagogue on Bolshaya Bronnaya street on January 11, 2006, and stabbed nine worshippers with a hunting knife before he was wrestled to the ground by the rabbi and his son. No one died in the incident.

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