Representatives of the Uzhakhovs are concerned about a possible wave of protests in the event of a biased verdict being passed against political prisoners. They stated this in a video message that was made available to Fortanga.
“An unfair decision will be difficult for us and all the residents of Ingushetia to endure. We are afraid that in such a case the situation could get out of control, it would be difficult to stop people. I want the authorities to understand that,” Savarbek Uzhakhov said in the video.
The opinion of Savarbek Uzhakhov was shared by other participants in the video message: Magomed Uzhakhov, Murad Dzhandigov, Isa Gazdiyev and Kambor Uzhakhov. Savarbek is a brother of political prisoner Malsag Uzhakhov. He noted that the accusations of investigators and prosecutors against his brother and other arrested activists were groundless.
“For eight months the prosecution has been doing everything possible, trying to come up with articles and put them in jail. […] They found anonymous “witnesses” who testified against those involved in the Ingush case in order to consolidate the groundless articles. Testimonies of “wounded” Rosgvardians are also used, without confirming the exact names of the “attackers”. […] I have attended almost all court hearings and it seems to me that the defendants will not get the sentence they want,” he stressed.
Savarbek Uzhakhov is confident that the decisive role in the “Ingush case” will be played by numerous defence witnesses who have been questioned.
“It seems to me that the intention of the prosecution to imprison innocent people for many years has failed. The defense has questioned a lot of witnesses and all of them acquitted political prisoners, describing them in a positive way. […] People who occupied high official positions also acted as witnesses for the defense”, – assured Savarbek Uzhakhov.
He recalled that next week the parties will begin deliberations. The court is expected to deliver its verdict no later than the end of November. In his opinion, the work of the lawyers will allow justice to be served and influence the verdict.
“We wanted to agree with the government to hold a rally in support of political prisoners and came to today. As far as you know, a year ago we wrote a letter to our government requesting permission to hold a rally in support of our prisoners. The document was returned to us within two days, noting that the difficult epidemic situation in the republic did not allow us to hold a mass event. However, two months later a festive concert was held at the stadium in the town of Sunzha with an audience of many thousands,” he said.
The Uzhakhovs publicly appealed to the court to impartially and humanely hand down the sentence, given the unrest in the community.
Earlier, “Fortanga” reported that the deliberations on the “Ingush case” were scheduled for October 26-27. They may additionally be held on October 28. Residents are massively recording video appeals to the court, asking for an objective and humane verdict.
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.
Criminal proceedings in connection with the Magas events were instituted against 52 people, three of whom had their criminal prosecution terminated. According to the Memorial Human Rights Centre*, 37 people have been convicted in the Ingush case. All the trials are taking place outside the Republic – in Stavropol Krai. “Memorial” considers all seven persons accused of creating an extremist community to be political prisoners: Akhmed Barakhoyev, Musa Malsagov, Ismail Nalgiyev, Zarifa Sautieva, Malsag Uzhakhov, Bagaudin Khautiev and Barakh Chemurziev, Akhmed Pogorov.
* The organization is included by the Russian Ministry of Justice in the register of NGOs performing the functions of a foreign agent.