27 October 2014, 11:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of October 20-26
Russian Supreme Court's decision on appeals lodged by convicts for massacre in the village of Kuschevskaya, Krasnodar Territory; verdicts of guilty against Bacho Akhalaya and Vano Merabishvili, Mikhail Saakashvili's close associates in Georgia; mass rally in Yerevan, demanding resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of October 20-26, 2014, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Russia's SC upholds verdict in case of massacre in Kuschevskaya
On October 24, the Supreme Court (SC) of the Russian Federation announced the decision on the appeals filed by members of the Tsapok's criminal grouping from the Cossack village of Kuschevskaya of the Krasnodar Territory, who were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment in the case of the massacre committed on November 4, 2010. The SC has commuted the sentence to Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz: his term of imprisonment has been reduced for two month in connection with the reclassification of his actions in one of the episodes of the criminal case. Finally, the SC has sentenced Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz to 19 years and 10 months of imprisonment. The SC has also reclassified some of the charges against Vladimir Alexeev under other articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation; however, his sentence to life imprisonment has not been commuted. Meanwhile, the SC has upheld the verdict against other two prisoners Nikolai Tsapok and Vladimir Zaporozhetz, who were sentenced to 20 and 19 years of imprisonment, respectively. The Russian Supreme Court has closed the criminal proceedings against Sergei Tsapok and Igor Chernykh under non-exculpatory circumstances in connection with their deaths. The advocates of the sentenced persons have announced their intention to challenge the decision of the Russian Supreme Court at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
In Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili's close associates Bacho Akhalaya and Vano Merabishvili convicted
Last week, Georgia announced the verdicts against Bacho Akhalaya and Vano Merabishvili, two close associates of former President Mikhail Saakashvili. On October 22, Bacho Akhalaya, who in various periods of time headed the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and who was charged in the "Navtlug" case under article "torture", was sentenced to seven years and six months of imprisonment. On October 20, the Tbilisi City Court sentenced Vano Merabishvili, the former Prime Minister and the former Interior Minister, to three years of imprisonment on charge of abuse of office in the case of the murder of Sandro Girgvliani.
In Armenia, opposition holds mass rally demanding resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan
On October 24, in Yerevan, the opposition factions of the Armenian Parliament, including the "Armenian National Congress", the "Prosperous Armenia", and the "Heritage" Parties, held a rally. According to various sources, the rally was attended by 20-25,000 people. The participants of the rally demanded the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan. People, who spoke at the rally, criticized the policy of President Serzh Sargsyan. According to them, as a result of the President's policy, Armenia faces the threat of disaster, reduction of jobs, movement of capital out of the country, and growth of corruption.
In Stavropol Territory, Imam Kurman-Ali Baichorov and his advocate go on hunger strike
On October 22, Kurman-Ali Baichorov, the Imam of Kislovodsk, went on a hunger strike to protest against the violation of his right to defence after the Court of Predgorny District of the Stavropol Territory dismissed several motions filed by him. Kurman-Ali Baichorov is accused of drug trafficking, and he has stated the criminal case against him has been fabricated. After the court session of October 23, Adam Abubakarov, an advocate of Kurman-Ali Baichorov, declared his solidarity with the position of his client and also declared a hunger strike. The advocate treats the actions of the Court as "criminal" and notes that the Judge's attempt to prematurely skip to the pleadings has become the last drop, and "even the prosecutor has expressed his indignation about that fact."
Mourning events on anniversary of terror act in bus in Volgograd and in Dubrovka Theatrical Centre in Moscow
Last week, residents of Moscow and Volgograd paid tribute to the memory of victims of two terror acts. The day of October 21 marks the one-year anniversary of the terror act committed by a female suicide bomber in a passenger bus in Volgograd on October 21, 2013. On October 21, more than 200 people came to the place of the explosion.
This year marks the 12-year anniversary of the terrorist act committed during the musical "Nord-Ost" in the Dubrovka theatre centre on October 23-26, 2002. The mourning events began on October 23. On October 26, participants of the mourning action gathered in front of the former theatre centre and held a minute of silence to pay tribute to the memory of the people killed in the terror act. Besides, the participants of the mourning action launched in the sky 130 white balloons in memory of 130 victims of the terror act.
In Astrakhan, court starts pleadings in case against Mikhail Stolyarov
On October 24, in Astrakhan, at the trial in the case against Mikhail Stolyarov, the Mayor of Astrakhan, temporary suspended from office and accused of bribery, the court started pleadings. In the course of the pleadings, the prosecutor called on the court to find the defendant guilty and sentenced him to 10 years of imprisonment in a high-security penal colony and a fine of 500 million roubles. On October 21, at the trial, Mikhail Stolyarov pleaded not guilty and noted that he took the money not for himself, but for the needs of the city.