Today at the session of the Kislovodsk court on the rally case in Yessentuki City Court, the defense motions to summon a number of persons as witnesses to the court were considered. Three defence witnesses were also questioned. Lawyers Fatima Urusova and Jabrail Kuriyev informed Fortanga about this.

The court granted the request of the defense to summon Lieutenant General Sergey Zubov, deputy head of the main directorate of the Russian Interior Ministry for the North Caucasus Federal District, as a witness last week. A similar petition against Colonel General Sergei Bachurin, the head of the North Caucasus Ministry of Internal Affairs, was rejected, Fatima Urusova said.

“The court found that Bachurin could not possess information that could be of interest to the court. They are interested in the issue of organizing an extremist community, organizing the use of violence, and it is this information, according to the judge, that Bachurin cannot possess. We will appeal this refusal in the appeal”, – explained Urusova.

The defence motion to summon Lieutenant-General of Police Dmitry Kava, former Ingushetia Interior Minister, as a witness has also been granted, Kuriyev said.

A request to summon the head of the Ingushetian Federal Guard Service who took the decision to detain the protest leaders and the head of the temporary detention facility in Nalchik, where they were taken after their arrest, has also been denied. “The court says that the defendants were detained as part of an administrative case, and it has nothing to do with the criminal proceedings at hand,” Kuriyev said.

Also today, three defence witnesses were questioned who testified regarding the presence of Akhmed Barakhoyev during the clashes with security forces in the square in Magas on March 27, 2019. They confirmed that the defendant was absent from the square at the time of the second collision. “It was important for the defense,” Urusova explained. – He prevented the first collision, and during the second one he just wasn’t in the square, he was performing ablutions”.

In addition, the court has attached to the case all the written evidence of the defence presented in last week’s motions, and a video recording of Yunus-Beck Evkurov’s statements.

As a reminder, since autumn 2018, rallies have been held in Magas against the agreement, under which a large part of Ingushetia was given to Chechnya. 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. Eightprotest leadersare currently in the dock, including former Ingush Interior Minister Akhmed Pogorov, who is being tried separately. On 1 September, at the trial of the seven leaders, two witnesses and the translation of the speeches at the rally confirmed the innocence of the defendants.

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