This is the legal opinion by judge of the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic German Aleksandrov who on 20 November 2013 dismissed Suleiman Edigov’s motion to disqualify all Judges of the Chechen Republic on the grounds that pressure is put upon one of them, judge Vakhid Abubakarov in respect of the criminal case against Mr Edigov. The defendant’s motion was dismissed for the reason that the grounds for judge Abubakarov self-disqualification were not supported by evidence.
(Photo: Judge German Aleksandrov, taken from http://vs.chn.sudrf.ru)
Previously, on 1 November 2013 judge of the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic Vakhid Abubakarov disqualified himself from the trial. As it is explained in the decision, it was done on the grounds that the judge had received a telephone call from «a person identifying himself as the Minister of the Interior for the Chechen Republic, general-lieutenant Alkhanov Ruslan Shakhaevich» who warned the judge against acquittal.
Judge Vakhid Abubakarov was examining the criminal case against Suleiman Edigov, charged with criminal offenses under Articles 317 (encroachment on the life of an officer of a law-enforcement body) and 222 (2) (illegal purchase, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or bearing weapons, committed by a group of persons under a preliminary conspiracy) of Russian Criminal Code.
However, as judge Abubakharov noted in the ruling on self-disqualification, «in the course of the trial the Court examined a complex of consistent evidence corroborating defendant Edigov’s submissions, that police officers subordinate to Mr Alkhanov R. Sh. abducted him on 3 August 2012 and were keeping him under unlawful detention till 12 September 2012. During that period of time they were repeatedly wrapping aluminum wires under voltage around his fingers, thus torturing him with electricity with the purpose to obtain confession statements from him. The ill-treatment inflicted him putrid nonhealing wounds of the right and left ring and little fingers».
The judge expresses opinion that «the call and warning from Mr Alkhanov R. SH. can be explained by the fact that the court possesses evidence providing grounds to prosecute the police officers for grave criminal offenses».
On 11 November 2013 lawyers working with the INGO «Committee Against Torture» demanded that authorities check the information given in the court decision and ensure security measures for judge Abubakarov. The relevant requests were sent to the Prosecutor General of the RF Yury Chaika, to the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the RF Aleksandr Bastrykin, and to the Minister of the Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev. The Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights has also expressed its concern about the situation in question.
However, the competent authorities have provided no official response yet.
The Chairman of the INGO «Committee Against Torture», a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights Igor Kalyapin comments on the situation: «Every official with the judicial authorities of the Chechen Republic, and the judge who continues examining the case in question in particular, is perfectly aware of what judge Abubakarov was told by Minister Alkhanov. So there are only two choices here: either judge Aleksandrov does not consider those words to be interference with the administration of justice (for instance, he sees them as a piece of «friendly advice»), or we are now facing the impact of this interference which, therefore, has gained its purpose».