25 December 2008, 19:00
Markelov: appeal against Budanov's relief by the suffered party is not excluded
On December 24, the City Court of Dimitrovgrad (Ulyanovsk Region) satisfied the petition of former Colonel Yuri Budanov for conditional early relief (CER). If there is no appeal against, Budanov will be released on January 11.
Stanislav Markelov, advocate of Elza Kungaeva's family, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that the decision on Budanov's conditional early relief can be appealed against by the suffered party.
Mr Markelov has expressed his personal attitude to Budanov's CER. "This decision has strongly undermined those successes of justice achieved in Chechnya so far - the legal system there has only started to recover. This case was one of the few, where justice had somehow triumphed; and it promoted setting up of peace in Chechnya," he believes.
The formal basis for Budanov's release was his personal application that he had repented, and he had no reprimands during imprisonment - hence, there were no grounds for his further imprisonment. However, repentance is a subjective point. It is necessary to consider the gravity of the crime," Markelov has stated. The lawyer has also noted that it was already Budanov's fifth petition, and he gave no other arguments after the previous refusals.
In the opinion of the advocate, the release of the former Colonel indicates a change in the attitude of the state to grave crimes of Russian militaries accomplished in Chechnya. "I haven't noticed militants convicted for grave crimes to be released. Why then they do it with Budanov?" Stanislav Markelov was perplexed.
Alexander Cherkasov, member of the HRC "Memorial", told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that Budanov's CER indicates how much the law "is equal for all" - Svetlana Bakhmina, who had killed nobody and, besides, gave birth to a child in colony, was rejected her CER. Those accused on "Ulman case" were released on recognizance not to leave; and they immediately escaped from the justice; fatally sick Aleksanyan is still kept behind bars.
The human rights activist has also reminded that even if Budanov is released, he has not responded for all his crimes: after the unit under Budanov's command left Duma-Yurt village, its residents reported disappearances of their relatives. Later, their dug-in bodies with traces of torture and hands bound with wire were found in the vicinity of Tangi-Chu village, where Budanov's unit was relocated.
The court had also found "unproved" the episode of raping Kungaeva. Colonel's subordinates evidenced that they had desecrated the dead body "with a shovel shank." However, later the episode disappeared from the case files.
: "Father of Elza Kungaeva can apply to Strasbourg Court," "Yuri Budanov's early release rejected again," "Court rejects early release of Yuri Budanov."
Author: Anastasia Kirilenko; Source: CK correspondent
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