Today at the session of Kislovodsk city court on rally case 10 witnesses testified in favor of defendants. Lawyer Kaloy Akhilgov told Fortanga about this.

They are all participants in the «standing in the square» on the night of March 27, 2019, and have no previous criminal record for the rally, he explained.

The defense witnesses answered the questions proposed by the court in a standard way, Ahilgov said. «[They said that] no one called them to go to the rally, they went there themselves, voluntarily, based on their own convictions. They did not hear any calls to use violence and resist the authorities. They did not see any violence there. On the contrary, the defendants called to prevent violence,» their lawyer said.

Nine of the witnesses interviewed were middle-aged and one was an elderly person.

«They (the witnesses) believe that those involved in the transfer of part of the republic’s (Ingushetia’s) territory should sit in the dock, and that the defendants should be released. The witnesses Merjoeva and Tzoroev who were questioned explained to the court that their participation in the rally was due to the fact that their ancestral lands, on which there were ancestral towers and crypts, had been transferred to the Chechen Republic. On the whole, all the witnesses showed that none of the defendants called for violence against the security forces and consider the accusation of the creation of an extremist community by our defendants and participation in it to be absurd. Lawyer Magmed Bekovwrote on his Facebook page today after the court session.

The court session lasted six and a half hours, with a break for lunch. It was attended by the wife of Barakh Chemurziev.

The next meeting is scheduled for August 11. Six defence witnesses are scheduled to be questioned during the hearing.

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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