15 March 2010, 20:00

In Dagestan, "Chernovik" trial postponed for studying petitions

Today, another hearing was held in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, on the criminal case initiated against journalists of the local weekly "Chernovik", accused of kindling national, racial and religious enmity. After interrogation of several witnesses, the litigation was postponed till March 16 because of necessity for the judge to study the submitted petitions.

The session was chaired by Federal Judge Sharaputdin Gadzhiev from the Leninskiy District Court of Makhachkala, while the state prosecution was represented by Arslan Abakarov. The defendants are Nadira Isaeva, editor-in-chief of the weekly, journalists Arthur Mamaev, Timur Mustafaev and Magomed Magomedov, and Biyakai Magomedov, a lawyer from the Limited Liability Company (LLC) "Freedom of Speech", which is the founder of the weekly.

The session started with interrogation of witnesses. The first one was Rasul Khaibulaev, deputy head of the press service of President and the Government of Dagestan and former editor-in-chief of the "Chernovik". He said that by virtue of his post he traced and is tracing all the publications of the weekly, but did not see anything seditious in publications. "I haven't seen any attributes of kindling national, racial and religious enmity in any of the materials," Mr Khaibulaev has stated.

When asked by the judge about any claims from the bosses of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) when he had headed the edition, Mr Khaibulaev answered positively. "I was repeatedly visited by interior minister's deputies, who used to say that "Chernovik" discredited the work of militia. I used to explain them that the weekly, on the contrary, helped militiamen in their work by revealing deficiencies," said the head of the press service.

Magomed Magomedov asked Khaibulaev whether "the problems of militia's arbitrariness were discussed at various meetings with the President and Premier of Dagestan." The witness answered in the affirmative. "Former President of Dagestan was among the first to demand from the militia to work within the legal environment," the journalist answered.

Then, Mr Magomedov also asked to specify the procedure of compiling the so-called "lists of unreliable persons". "They were drawn up right after the events of 1999, when militants intruded from Chechnya into the territory of Dagestan. Law enforcers registered those Dagestanians, known as Wahhabites, as "unreliable". They wore shorter trousers and had other exterior attributes. It was all then highly emotional, and mistakes were not excluded," the former editor-in-chief said.

Then, German Kostrov, an adviser of the Chairman of the Supreme Court of Dagestan, was invited into the courtroom. He told about several illegal situations, where Dagestan militiamen figured. In particular, the incident in Khasavyurt on November 3, 2006, when as a result of a special operation an innocent pregnant woman was killed.

"Right after the murder militiamen stated that the woman shouting 'Allah Akbar' opened fire from sub-machine gun at them. The weapon was studied as an exhibit, but examination showed that the firearm was not used at all," said the adviser.

One of the weekly's advocates - Abdullah Magomedov - asked to what extent the publications of the weekly kindled any hatred in the population against militiamen as a social group. "They kindle nothing. I found nothing in journalists' articles what I haven't seen in my life," was the adviser's answer.

The third witness was Zubair Zubairuev, a publicist and director of the radio "Echo Moskvy Makhachkala". He also said that publications of the journalists reflect the republic's realities. "Law enforcers' arbitrariness is a usual phenomenon in Dagestan. I can give dozens and hundreds of examples. If it's a novelty for someone - then, I have no comment," the publicist has noted.

Abdullah Magomedov asked: "Do you think that 'Chernovik' journalists form terrorists' positive image?" Zubairuev answered negatively.

Further, Biyakai Magomedov submitted a petition asking to change the defendants' freedom restriction from recognizance not to leave into liability to appear. Abdullah Magomedov, in his turn, petitioned for holding a repeated complex psychology-linguistic examination of the materials of the weekly journal at the federal centre of judicial examination at the Ministry of Justice of Russia. The state accuser asked to reject the petition. Judge Gadzhiev announced that he needed to study all the issues in detail and reappointed the session on March 16.

Author: Akhmed Magomedov; Source: CK correspondent

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