An auto mechanic is on trial for killing a convicted pedophile after rescuing a teenage boy from his clutches.
34-year-old Vladimir Sankin faces a prison sentence of up to 15 years if convicted, despite the fact that a petition has been signed by 70,000 people in Russia in support of him.
He was a passerby when he responded to the desperate requests of a ten-year-old boy to help his friend who was locked in the apartment of Vladimir Zaitsev, 54, in the city of Ufa.
The convicted sex offender had previously been jailed three times for assaulting underage children, including his own son.
Mr Sankin says he ran into the apartment and heard the boy inside cry.
He penetrated and freed the nameless teenager whom the man had ordered to strip naked under the threat of being killed and dismembered if he refused.
After rescuing the boy and reuniting him with his ten-year-old friend, Sankin took the man outside and hit him with a wooden stick while he waited for the police to arrive.
The man fell and hit his head on the injuries from which he later died.
Mr. Sankin was formally arrested and charged with “deliberately inflicting serious bodily harm resulting in the victim’s death through negligence”.
“I didn’t expect him to die at all,” said the mechanic.
“I saved two children … from him.”
Mr Sankin has been under house arrest since February but is now facing prosecution attempts to have him detained for up to 15 years.
In a video prior to his trial, he thanks supporters for their support and claims that every man did the same.
“I couldn’t do anything else in this situation,” he said.
“I had a choice – come over or save the children.
“Surely any man would do the same in my place.”
His lawyer Shota Gorgadze said Mr. Sankin was “a simple guy who couldn’t get around a pedophile and protect children from this rapist.
“The earth depends on such common people.”
The charges against his client were “unfair”.
He swore: “We will prove that such men should be rewarded and not imprisoned.”
His mother Galina Sankina said: “My son did the right thing …
“I would do the same, scold myself or not.”
Mr Sankin’s wife, Polina Naumova, said: “I am on his side because I did not go out [on the boys] because nobody knows what would have happened next if they had turned a blind eye. “
Others have asked him to be recognized for his bravery.
Zaitsev had served five years, one year and 11 years in prison for previous sexual convictions for “sodomy” and “violent sexual acts”.