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Court not to question defendant's father in soccer fan murder case

September 20, 2011, 15:19 UTC+3

The Moscow City Court on Tuesday proceeded to examine evidence of the defense in the high-profile case over the murder of Spartak fan Yegor Sviridov

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MOSCOW, September 20 (Itar-Tass) — The Moscow City Court on Tuesday proceeded to examine evidence of the defense in the high-profile case over the murder of Spartak fan Yegor Sviridov, which provoked mass disturbances in Moscow's Manezhanya Square last December.

In the beginning of the Tuesday hearing, the lawyer of one of the defendants asked the court to question Ibragim Ibragimov, the father of one of the defendants, Khasan Ibragimov. He had been questioned at a hearing in the absence of the jurors, to ascertain the significance of his testimony for the court and the parties.

Ibragimov Sr told the court that his son had always been kind-hearted and "always defended girls in school." "On that ill-fated day, my son went to meet his friend at a cafe," he said.

"Khasan told me they had clashed with Spartak fans and I offered him to go home until things calmed down, but he refused saying he had done nothing wrong," the defendant's father stated.

When asked by the prosecutor if his son had bodily injuries after the fight, Ibragimov said, "no, I don't think he had; he had a bad cough and was very downcast."

The court then refused to question Ibragimov, as he had attended several hearings. The law prohibits the witnesses to attend the trial until the testimony.

The next hearing is due on September 22.

The defense is expected to hear the witnesses' testimony.

There are six persons in the prisoners' dock. The main defendant, Aslan Cherkesov, 27, is a native of Nalchik. He is accused of hooliganism and murder, attempted murder, malicious light degree battery and robbery.

The other defendants are natives of Dagestan: Akai Akayev, 20, Artur Arsibiyev, 20, Nariman Ismailov, 20, Khasan Ibragimov, 19 and Ramazan Utarbiyev, 21. They are accused of hooliganism and malicious light degree battery.

The investigators said the defendants, in a state of alcoholic intoxication on December 6, 2010, at a bus stop walked up to a group of Muscovites, who were waiting for a taxi. "Using a small pretext and a phrase by one of the Muscovites, they attacked the young people and beat them up," an official at the Prosecutor General’s Office said earlier.

Cherkesov who had a Streamer-2014 non-lethal pistol shot twice at two persons, "inflicting light harm on them." Then he fired at least two shots at Sviridov, killing him. Cherkesov then shot six times at another Muscovites. Having stolen a bag, the attackers fled the scene.

The tragic incident led to disturbances on Manezhnaya Square in central Moscow. The football fans who gathered on the square on December 11, together with nationalists, held an unsanctioned rally which escalated to clashes with police. The youths resented the actions by police who initially detained the six suspected attackers but later released five of them on a written pledge not to leave the city.

The petition for jury trial was earlier lodged by main defendant Aslan Cherkesov. He is the only defendant of the six persons in the prisoners' dock whose charges under “murder” article envision a review by jurors.

Five defendants pleaded not guilty. Cherkesov's lawyer stated that his client "does not deny using a weapon in self-defense."

Cherkesov pleaded not guilty to the charges of hooliganism and robbery.

Investigators said a day before murdering Sviridov, Cherkesov had used his weapon in another conflict in Kronstadsky Boulevard.

During preliminary hearings, the injured parties asked the court for state protection because of threats.

"They phoned me to tell that they'll send me to my husband in a wink, while at the session today, the defendants were making threatening gestures at us," the widow of the killed Spartak fan stated at one of the hearing.

She flatly denied the possibility of football-related or hate motives behind the incident. "There was not football or ethnic motives. The guys were just going out of the cafe, and the attackers came out for holdup - this is what I think. The ethnic motive is out of the question: aside from Yegor, they also shot at his friend, Gasparyan by surname," she said.

At present, Moscow's Tverskoi court is hearing the case over the mass disturbances in Manezhanya Square. Five persons have been charged with involvement.


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