Synagogue knife-man given longer jail term

Moscow, Russia - A Russian appeal court on Friday sentenced a man to 16 years for stabbing and wounding nine worshippers in a Moscow synagogue, three years more than the previous sentence.

Alexander Koptsev was jailed for 13 years in March after he was found guilty of racially motivated attempted murder, but the court dropped charges against him of fomenting ethnic hatred.

Moscow city court on Friday ruled that Koptsev was guilty of that charge as well, supporting prosecutors' demands for a tougher punishment.

Koptsev, 21, who shouted "Heil Hitler" as he ran around the central Moscow synagogue in a frenzied stabbing spree in January, will be held in a high-security prison, the court ruled.

Judges said he would also undergo forced treatment for a mental disorder.

Asked by judges last week if he had anything to say before the verdict, Koptsev apologised to his victims.

"Anger and hatred clouded my mind, and I did not quite understand what I was doing," he said.

Koptsev's lawyers said the sentence was unjustifiably tough, because the defendant could not be held fully accountable for his actions due to a psychiatric illness.

Jewish leaders reacted angrily to the attack, saying Russia was in the grip of a fascist "plague".

Outbursts of racial violence are not uncommon in Russia where xenophobia has flourished since the collapse of communism.