VOLGOGRAD, March 22 - RAPSI. A court in the southern Russian city of Volgograd sentenced Egyptian citizen Mohammed Montafer to 1.5 years in a penal colony Friday for desecrating a memorial for those who perished during World War II.

The prosecutors requested a three-year sentence, while the defense attorneys insisted on two months in prison.

On New Year's Eve, the 29-year-old man urinated on the Eternal Flame on the Heroes Alley in downtown Volgograd and then picked a fight with a local resident who rebuked him for an incident.

Upon being detained, the Egyptian told the police that he arrived to Volgograd a month earlier to intern with the Volgograd State Medical University.
He added that he and his flatmates celebrated the holiday on New Year's Eve and then took a walk around the city.

During the hearings, letters of references were read from two Volgograd universities where the Egyptian studied, where he was mainly characterized as an undisciplined student. The accused also cried and said he did not plan to commit a crime.

"I swear that I did not know this was a gravesite," he said. "In Egypt, we have gravesites outside the city."

He added that he supports his elderly mother, younger brother and sister in his home country.