Today penal division of the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic has continued the examination of the appeal of Ruslan Kutaev’s lawyers against the court decision delivered on 7 July this year. In the course of today’s hearing judges Dmitry Gorbovtsov, Adlan Susurkaev and Isa Bataev dismissed the fourth motion filed by the defense team. Lawyer Petr Zaikin presented his opinion concerning the arguments of the appeal. The next hearing is scheduled for 27 October, in the course of which the parties will participate in the proceedings.
(Photo: Ilyas Timishev, Ruslan Kutaev, Petr Zaikin, Igor Kalyapin during the break)
As we have previously reported, on July 7 in the Urus-Martan City Court of the Chechen Republic the verdict in the case of Ruslan Kutaev, a Chechen social activist and political figure, was announced. He was found guilty of criminal offenses under Article 228 (2) of Russian Criminal Code (illegal acquisition and possession of large quantity of drugs without intent to sell) and sentenced to a 4-year prison term to be served in general regime (minimum security) penal colony. Plus – a year of supervised release with prohibition on social activism.
Kutaev repeatedly emphasized that he considered his case forged. In their turn, human rights defenders with the Joint Mobile Group (JMG) claimed that this case was forged and the defendant gave the self-incriminating statements under torture.
The Chechen authorities rejected any political motives in the case (the man was arrested one day after he had participated in the conference dedicated to the 70-th anniversary of Chechen – Ingush deportation, the conference was not agreed with the authorities), and argued that the prosecution of the 56-year-old Chechen politician was a standard and commonplace criminal case.
Today’s hearing started with the presiding judge Dmitry Gorbovtsov announcing the appellate decision on the motion filed the day before on conducting the judicial linguistic expert examination of Kutaev’s words about his intention to participate in the proceedings after the lawyers deliver their speeches. Based on the results of this expert examination, as the lawyers thought, the case should have been remanded to the Urus-Martan City Court. However the judges dismissed yet another motion, having decided that the court of the first instance provided the defendant with the right to participate in the proceedings, but he willfully waived this right.
After that lawyer Petr Zaikin presented his opinion concerning the arguments of the appeal. He directed the court’s attention at numerous contradictions, which the court of the first instance left without any evaluation during the proclaiming the allegedly unbiased verdict in the case of Ruslan Kutaev.
Once again the lawyer brought to the judges’ notice that none of the motions filed by the defense team was satisfied. In Zaikin’s opinion the adversary character of the judicial process was not provided in the course of the hearing of the case by the court of the first instance: «the court did not make a single attempt to react to the Kutaev’s theory. Satisfy at least one motion! Corroborate the defense case or disprove it! In return we hear standard phrase – «the court has no grounds to doubt the witnesses’ testimony».
In the course of his speech Zaikin directed the judges attention at an absolutely essential detail. During the examination of Ruslan Kutaev’s search record it turned out that it was drawn up with violation of the Federal law and could not be considered as evidence in neither administrative nor criminal case. Not only this search record does not contain anything about the searched person being explained his rights, but this graph in the blank is simply missing.
Considering this to be sufficient grounds for acquittal of the defendant Kutaev’s lawyer still insists that this case should be remanded to the court of the first instance for eliminating numerous violations and delivering a legal decision.
At about 4 p.m. the judges suggested to call it a day and continue the hearing on Monday at 2 p.m. when the parties will participate in proceedings.