At a hearing in the Yessentuki city court on the rally case, the witness, a former employee of the Interior Ministry for Ingushetia, said that in the crowd of protesters on the square in Magas on the night of March 27, 2019, there were two uniformed security officers in civilian clothes, who incited the youth to riot. The court also attached to the case the conclusions of psychological and linguistic expertise, which confirmed the innocence of the defendants.

«Defense witness Khasan Katsiyev, a former employee of the Ingush Interior Ministry who had worked for the agency even before the protests, was previously convicted of involvement in them under Article 318.1 [of the Russian Criminal Code on the use of violence against a representative of authority], pleaded not guilty. Today he testified that he had seen in the crowd of people in the square two officers [of the power structure] whom he knows by sight and by name, and one of them is his relative.[4 августа] He refused to name them for fear of his life and health,» lawyer Magomed Bekov told Forganga.

According to the defender, Katsiev is absolutely sure that there were two law enforcers in the protest crowd, who incited people, urged them to fight, shouted: «Forward! He recognized them even though they were wearing medical masks and civilian clothes. The witness assessed what took place as a clear provocation. Katsiyev also said that he saw a flash-bang grenade being thrown during prayers by the Russian riot police. The grenade fell one and a half meters away from him and caused an uproar among the young people standing on the square.

«The witness testified that the defendants did not induce him to use violence against the Rosgvardians,» said the lawyer. — Katsiyev heard the voices of our defendants in the square, in particular, Uzhakhov and Barakhoyev, and saw some of them. According to him, they all called for order, not to give in to provocations, to calm down, thanks to which there was no bloodshed, and people essentially dispersed. The witness pointed out that it was very difficult for the accused, as some of them did not listen to them, did not calm down, and they had to be persuaded for a long time to leave».

Also in court, the defense examined and attached to the case as evidence the conclusions of psychologists-linguists, reclaimed from the main criminal case at the request of the defense in November 2020, at the very beginning of the trial, said Bekov. «These expert examinations were made at the initiative of the investigation, but in fact they are evidence for the defense, as they deny the presence of any extremist statements in the speech of our defendants during the protests. They indicate that all the speeches, all the appeals sounded in the square on the night of March 27 did not contain any expressions inciting to incite hatred on any grounds, there were no calls to extremist activities», — he said.

The defense believes that these expert reports were deliberately not included in the main criminal case and were not sent to court to conceal the very serious evidence of the innocence of the defendants, said the lawyer. «Our defendants are imputed that they created an extremist community and participated in it, which means that they must have signs of extremists. But the expertise does not prove it. Video materials don’t prove it. None of the witnesses interrogated, and none of the classified Rosgvardeys interrogated proves it, even though they were witnesses for the prosecution! — Bekov explained.

At the request of the lawyer Dzhabrail Kuriev in court the resolutions on termination of administrative cases against Malsag Uzhakhov were also examined and attached to the case as defense evidence.

«These are at least five proceedings on administrative offenses, where Malsag Uzhakhov was fined for organizing or participating in unsanctioned events. The higher courts overturned the rulings of the lower courts, the proceedings in these cases were terminated, but the investigator sent to the court only the rulings on administrative responsibility, and they are referred to in the indictment,» Kuriyev said.

The prosecution bodies have not provided up-to-date information, according to which Malsag Uzhakhov has been rehabilitated, even in the information center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic these data have not been recorded, the lawyer added.

He believes that the investigator’s failure to provide this information to the court is a «deliberate prosecutorial bias». «The investigator worked only in one direction, while the CPC obliges him to work both in the field of guilt and innocence and to make appropriate legally justified decisions,» suggested the defender. Today, all these court decisions were examined and attached, he said.

The next hearing in the case of the Ingush activists is scheduled for August 10.

Rallies against the Ingushetia-Chechnya border agreement have been held in Magas since autumn 2018. In March 2019, they turned into clashes with security forces and detentions of activists. Most of those arrested in the aftermath of those events received real sentences on charges of violence against public officials. Eight protest leaders are currently in the dock, including former Ingush Interior Minister Akhmed Pogorov, who is being tried separately. On 20 July, the arrest of the seven leaders was extended until November.

On 3 August, seven defence witnesses were heard in court. All of them did not confirm the accusation that the protest leaders in Magas had called for violence.

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