The videosThe video clips showing protest leader Malsag Uzhakhov talking about his decision to prematurely terminate the rally in Magas agreed for three days confirm that he had no intention of overthrowing the authorities, the lawyer said.
At the session on the Yessentuki rally case on September 22, among other evidence, two videos related to the rally in Magas on October 31, 2018 were attached, lawyer Jabrail Kuriyev told Fortanga.
According to the lawyer, on 31 October 2018 there was an authorized rally in the square in front of the NTRC “Ingushetia” in Magas, which was organized by the Council of Teips represented by Malsag Uzhakhov. This rally was agreed for three days – from October 31 to November 2. However, after all the scheduled speakers had spoken at it, the rally was called off.
“The programme was fulfilled – everyone said what they wanted, the authorities heard them, and Malsag Uzhakhov decided to terminate the rally early. The calls at this rally were only about the territory handed over to Chechnya: “Land, land and land again! No more slogans. And Malsag decided to stop the action even though it had been agreed to for two more days”, Kuriyev said.
The defence and Malsag Uzhakhov himself explained to the court that if the protesters had had other goals consistent with the charges, other demands would have been voiced at this rally, and the rally would have been continued. “If there was a goal to overthrow the authorities, to achieve Yevkurov’s resignation, if the protesters felt any political animosity, they would have continued to rally. And that includes Malsag as the organizer of this event”, – explained the lawyer.
Kuriyev pointed out that at the rally there were disagreements between the participants exactly on the issue of its termination or continuation of the action, which is also reflected in the video recording. “Some public figures, such as Saradjan Sultygov, said that the rally should continue. To which Malsag announced into the microphone: “I am the organizer of this rally. We did what we wanted and what we had planned. The people have decided to disperse. We have no other demands. Only “Land, land and land again!”. In the end it was decided to part ways, and it was thanks to Malsagh. If he wanted to overthrow the government and the resignation of Evkurov (the head of Ingushetia at the time), he would have continued to stand there and put forward other demands,” said the defender.
The defence also presented a story by NTRC Ingushetia about the event, which aired in the evening of 31 October 2018. “The report said that the protesters voiced their demands and decided to end the rally early,” Kuriyev explained.
Recall that rallies against the border agreement between Ingushetia and Chechnya have been held in Magas since autumn 2018. Protesters gathered in Magas for a rally agreed to by the authorities against changing the border with Chechnya, despite bad weather and a statement by Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry that the rally could be called off. Posters with slogans like “No to Illegal Agreements,” “Deputies, Make the Right Choice,” and “We Don’t Need Someone Else’s Money” were placed on the fence enclosing the rally site, reported “Caucasian Knot.
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.