Three men in Russia have been sentenced for the brutal murder of a man they stabbed and set on fire because they suspected he was gay.

On Monday, the Russian court convicted the three men aged 26, 22, and 18, for the murder they committed last May.

According to AFP, the men, who all came from the same village in the eastern Russian region of Kamchatka, committed the murder because they were “convinced of the non-traditional sexual orientation of their fellow villager,” regional prosecutors said in a statement.

Prosecutors said: “Taking into account the role of each, the court sentenced them to 12-and-a-half years, 10-and-a-half years and nine years in a strict-regime prison colony.

The men “lured the man in his car to a deserted part of the forest. There, the eldest man stabbed the victim multiple times in the chest, face and neck, and two others kicked him.”

Lastly, prosecutors said the perpetrators placed the 29-year-old victim in his car and the set the vehicle alight with petrol.

Although the main motive for the crime was homophobia, the three men were prosecuted for murder, not hate crime.

In May last year, a gay man from the southern Russian city of Volgograd who was tortured to death in an apparent hate crime, was sexually assaulted with beer bottles, and had his skull “smashed with a stone.”

President Vladimir Putin said earlier last year that the country’s ban on “homosexual propaganda” was put in place to protect children.