Today the Lazarevsky District Court of Sochi City has resumed hearing of the criminal case against the OMON (special police forces) personnel charged with abuse of official power associated with the use of violence in the Druzhba youth camp last summer. Ten victims were present at the hearing.
Representatives of the TV-channel Rossia, which were also present at the hearing, started videotaping the proceedings.
At the outset of the hearing the defense moved:
– to ban videotaping of the proceedings by the attendants;
– to exclude representatives of the media from the hearing, because they falsely and distortedly cover this event;
– to enter into court records all persons which make a sound-recording of the proceedings;
The public prosecutor and a representative of the victims lawyer N. Shakhovalov opposed the above motions on the following grounds:
– the case is of high public importance and the court should ensure fair and objective recording of the events of the trial, so the court may assent to videotaping of the proceedings by the attendants and the media in a determined amount;
– the motion to exclude representatives of the media from the hearing is unlawful and is to be denied on the grounds that in accordance with para. 1 art. 241 of the Criminal Procedure Code (openness) hearings in any court are to be open. Any Russian citizen, including representatives of the media, is entitled to be present at a criminal trial because the proceedings are open.
– the motion to enter into court records all persons which make a sound-recording of the proceedings is unlawful and is to be denied on the grounds that in accordance with para. 1 art. 241 of the Criminal Procedure Code (openness) any attendant to open legal proceedings is entitled to make sound and written recording without any court’s permission and without being entered into court records.
Having heard the arguments of the parties the court, having deliberated in loco, ruled:
– to permit the attendants and the media videotaping of the beginning and the ending of the hearings. The court will separately decide as to the possibility to videotape the inquiry;
– to deny the motion to exclude representatives of the media from the hearing;
– to deny the motion to enter into court records all persons which make a sound-recording of the proceedings.
After the preparations the court proceeded with the inquest.
The public prosecutor read out the bill of indictment.
Then the accused police officers stated that they understood the indictment and pleaded non guilty.
The court adjourned the hearing for lunch till 2 p.m.
After the lunch break an inquest of the victims was scheduled.
We need to mention that now, when commenting the events of last summer, a number of high officials of the Krasnodar Regional Central Police Department (GUVD) state before the media that conflict between the police officers and the holiday-makers arose from the situation “when the OMON personnel during the “mopping-up” operation asked visitors of a café to show their documents what caused a negative reaction of a company of young men”. This is an absolutely wrongful viewpoint which contradicts not only the results of the unofficial investigation carried out by human rights defenders in settlement N. Makops, but also the testimonies of numerous witnesses and – what is more important – the conclusions of the prosecution investigators, stated in the bill of indictment. Perhaps by this strange means the officials try to protect the esprit de corps…