The court decided to change the measure of restraint for one of the leaders of the Ingush protest, Zarifa Sautieva, by placing her under house arrest, despite the prosecutor’s demand to keep her in pre-trial detention. This was reported to Fortanga by lawyer Jabrail Kuriyev.

“We were able to justify the petition [to change the preventive measure] from absolutely all sides, guided by all kinds of norms of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation, the conventions of the European Court. We were able to defend our defendant despite the persistent demands of the prosecution to refuse such a preventive measure, citing the fact that Sautieva would put pressure on witnesses, might make attempts to flee, etc.,” said Jabrail Kuriev..

Zarifa Sautiev in the building of Yessentuki city court. 10 March 2021 Photo from Dzhabrail Kuriev’s Facebook page.

The lawyer noted that he and the other defenders were prepared “for absolutely anything, and even the worst consequences.” But the decision to let Zarifa go under house arrest “gave new strength.” “The thought of our sister being back in a neat and clean environment where she can take better care of her health, given her [chronic illness], is a great joy. Zarifa herself cried in the courtroom after her release,” the lawyer said, adding that his Zarifa had spent more than 19 months in pre-trial detention.

Dzhabrail Kuriyev also said that at today’s hearing, in addition to the release of Sautieva, the defense also applied for the reclamation of evidence in the criminal case. The court granted the motion.

Lawyer Aralbek Dumanishev told “Fortanga” that during today’s meeting another witness for the prosecution was questioned.

“[The witness] did not provide any information that could corroborate the charges brought against our defendants. Moreover, to date, all the witnesses who have been questioned testify to anything other than what could prove the guilt of the defendants,” said the lawyer who defends Musa Malsagov and Bagaudin Khautiev.

He noted that 109 out of 120 volumes of the criminal case have already been studied. “And in two or three sessions, we have to finish examining the materials from the prosecution side. In general, all the testimonies stated by the witnesses have no evidentiary basis, but testify only to something superficial,” Dumanishev explained.

Ingush protest leaders at the court session.

The trial of the protest leaders is absurd, said Svetlana Astrakhanova, executive director of the Moscow Helsinki Group. Svetlana AstrakhantsevaThe trial is absurd, said Svetlana Astrakhantseva, executive director of the Moscow Helsinki Group, who attended the hearing on 9 March.

“The trial of these people itself is completely absurd, it shouldn’t have happened at all, but by the coincidence of these circumstances and what has happened, I can believe that the case is moving in a more positive direction than before. It pains me to see these respected, decent people behind the aquarium glass. They are accused only for the fact that they are authoritative among their people, and their opinion was and is taken into account,” Astrakhantseva told Fortanga.

The human rights activist said that she was able to communicate with the defendants, and she was especially impressed by the dialogue with Akhmed Barakhov. “He said such words that resonated strongly. Akhmed called the case not only an Ingush case, but also a Russian case, because it affected the manifestation of civil position not only of Ingush people, but also of Russian citizens. He said that he demanded and expected only one thing from the authorities – dialogue with the people. And his position was and remains unchanged,” said Svetlana Astrakhantseva.

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. A total of 46 people were arrested and about 30 people received real sentences on charges of violence against government officials. Seven protest leaders are in the dock, including. They are accused of organizing and calling for violence against representatives of the authorities, as well as creating and participating in an extremist community. On 26 February, Ahmed Pahorov, a person involved in the rally case, was detained. As a result of yesterday’s court session, more than 25 witnesses spoke in favor of the Ingush protest leaders.

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