Today the Blagoveschensk District Court holds a preliminary trial under the criminal case against the police rank and file which took part in the mopping-up operations in Blagoveschensk in December 2004. As you know, yesterday the same court held a preliminary trial under the case against top officials of the special police force (OMON) of Bashkortostan.
Seven victims and all tree accused have appeared before the court. The defence moved a challenge to the public prosecutors of the Republic of Bashkortostan. As one of the accused explained, the challenge was caused by personal dislike of the prosecutor of Bashkortostan to the accused. However, the court dismissed the motion.
Both the defence and the prosecution moved to have opportunity to examine the files of the divided case and to remit the case back to the prosecutor’s office of the Republic for remedying some faults. In particular, it was noted that the bill of indictment had false personal information about the victims. The court adjourned the making of a decision concerning these motions until 9.30 a.m. 7 May 2007.
You may remember that experts of the NN Committee Against Torture together with their colleagues from the Public Verdict Foundation and Kazan Human Rights Center created a combined mobile group of Russian human rights activists which carried out a thorough public investigation into the tragic events in Blagoveschensk, a small town in Bashkortostan, which had taken place in December 2004.
Human rights defenders are now representing the victims before the court.
Furthermore, lawyers of the NN Committee Against Torture are still insisting on criminal prosecution of the former prosecutor of Blagoveschensk, Mr. Ismagilov, who in fact authorized mass beatings of people by police in 2004.