MOSCOW: A Russian student who was beaten up in custody by the son of Chechnya’s authoritarian ruler, was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail on Tuesday after being accused of burning the Koran.

Nikita Zhuravel, 20, was arrested for allegedly burning the Koran outside a mosque in southeastern Russia and transferred to detention in the Muslim-majority region of Chechnya.

His case attracted attention after Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov posted a video of his teenage son kicking and throwing the student to the floor before punching him several times in the face.

Kadyrov, whose regime has been accused of numerous human rights abuses said he was “proud” of his son, who was later given a series of honours.

Zhuravel was accused of hooliganism and offending believers’ feelings.

The Chechen court said he had been “found guilty... and sentenced to three years and six months of imprisonment in a... penal colony”.

Human rights NGO Memorial said there was no public evidence that Zhuravel himself burned the Koran, as the video circulated on social media did not identify him.

Kadyrov, one of President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal supporters, has ruled Chechnya with an iron hand since 2007.

Putin backed the decision to move Zhuravel to Chechnya, saying he should serve his sentence “in one of Russia’s regions that has a majority Muslim population”. -AFP

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