26 November 2018, 15:06

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 19-25, 2018

Verdict in the case on an attack on a "Caucasian Knot" correspondent in Makhachkala; award to Oyub Titiev of the Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law; end of the trial in the case against the former head of the Kizlyar District of Dagestan; telethon of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund to raise funds for Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia; arrest of rapper Husky in Krasnodar, ‑ see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of November 19-25, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Verdict in case on an attack on a "Caucasian Knot" correspondent in Makhachkala

On November 19, Madina Omarova, Judge of the Soviet District Court of Makhachkala, recognized Karim Kasumov guilty of attacking Patimat Makhmudova, a "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, and sentenced him to 1.5 years of imprisonment. According to investigators, on June 12, 2017, in Makhachkala, Karim Kasumov demanded from Patimat Makhmudova to stop filming a rally of Navalny's supporters, attacked her, and broke her video camera. According to a defendant's advocate, Karim Kasumov was not aware that the victim was a journalist, but witness Andrei Melamedov and Patimat Makhmudova herself refuted the advocate's position. The verdict in the Karim Kasumov's case raised criticism from members of the journalists' community. During the debate, public prosecutor requested to sentence Karim Kasumov to two years of imprisonment, while the maximum penalty under the article about an attack on a journalist provided for up to six years of imprisonment or up to five years of forced labour. An advocate of the "Caucasian Knot" intends to challenge the verdict to Karim Kasumov to seek for tougher punishment.

Award to Oyub Titiev of the Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs for France and Germany included Grozny rights defender Oyub Titiev in the list of laureates of the Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law for 2018, reported the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" on November 23. Oyub Titiev, the head of the HRC "Memorial" office in Grozny, was one of 15 laureates of the Franco-German Prize, the list of which was announced by the German and French Ministries of Foreign Affairs on November 21. A month earlier, in October, Oyub Titiev won another human rights award: the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. It should be noted that Oyub Titiev is charged with marijuana possession, and he has been in custody since January 11. At present, the court considers his case. The rights defender himself pleads not guilty and claims that the drugs had been planted on him.

On November 19, Oyub Titiev gave testimony in court and described in detail the events of January 9, when he was detained on suspicion of drug possession. Oyub Titiev reported about the first detention by fighters of the rapid response team (known as GBR) and the second detention, staged "under the law" with involvement of inspectors from the road-and-patrol service (known as DPS) and members of the investigating team. The rights defender also expressed his concern over the fate of the investigator, who, according to Oyub Titiev, conducted an unbiased identification. On November 20, during interrogation, when responding to questions from the defence, Oyub Titiev reported details of the activities of the HRC "Memorial" office in Grozny and the pressure faced by rights defenders in Chechnya.

End of trial in case against former head of Kizlyar District of Dagestan

On November 22, the North-Caucasian District Military Court sentenced Andrei Vinogradov, the former head of the Kizlyar District of Dagestan, to 15 years of imprisonment in a high-security penal colony with a two-year restriction of liberty. He was found guilty of attempting on the life of a law enforcer and aiding and abetting a similar crime, aiding an assassination attempt on Vasily Naumochkin, Vice Mayor of Kizlyar, and financing terrorism. Andrei Vinogradov was detained in July 2015. After his detention, investigators announced that he and his relative Sagid Murtazaliev, the head of the Dagestani branch of the Russian Pension Fund, were involved as suspects in several cases, including the cases on murder, attempted murder, and financing of terrorism. The defence of Andrei Vinogradov saw political motives in the verdict and announced the intention to challenge it. The verdict to Andrei Vinogradov reminded of the unsuccessful search for his patron Sagid Murtazaliev, commented on the court decision journalists and political analyst Eduard Urazaev, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot". Andrei Vinogradov was sentenced to a long term of imprisonment, but Sagid Murtazaliev, who had fled abroad from investigators, retained limited influence in Dagestan, the journalists and the political analyst noted.

Telethon of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund to raise funds for Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia

On November 22, the 21st telethon of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund was held in Los Angeles. The charity event held on the slogan "Let's build together!" was broadcasted on the air of the First Public TV Channel of Armenia. For 12 hours, the telethon raised 11,106,633 US dollars. The raised money will be directed to the implementation of programmes launched in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2017, in particular, to drilling of deep artesian wells, creation of a drip irrigation system for the agricultural sector, and use of solar energy, members of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund reported during the live broadcast. According to them, part of the funds will be directed to the creation of jobs in Armenia.

Arrest of rapper Husky in Krasnodar

On November 22, in Krasnodar, rap singer Husky (Dmitry Kuznetsov) was detained and sentenced to 12 days of arrest on the charge of petty hooliganism. On the same day, the court found him guilty of refusing a medical examination and sentenced him to three days of arrest. Rapper Husky was detained near a club, where his concert had been cancelled. Singer manager Andrei Orekhov explained the rapper's performance in the street by absence of electricity in the club. The musician was detained at the moment when he was singing a track from a roof of a car. On November 23, it became known that an owner of the car, from the roof of which rapper Husky sang a song, filed a complaint to the police against him.

It should be noted that, according to an agent of rapper Husky, on November 20, in Rostov-on-Don, law enforcers restricted the entry for visitors to his concert and the performance itself passed without musical accompaniment. Six concerts in other cities were cancelled because of the rapper's arrest in Krasnodar, Andrei Orekhov reported. According to him, rapper Husky is being persecuted, since rappers are popular among young people in Russia, they influence the opinions of young people, and they are independent of the state and "write the truth about the country." On November 22, the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" reported that in early November, Vladimir Petrov, a delegate from the Leningrad Region, addressed Yuri Chaika, General Prosecutor of Russia, with a request to take measures "to prevent official rappers' concerts in the Russian Federation until normalization of the situation among young people."

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on November 26, 2018 at 09:00 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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