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Court to question Eduard Limonov as witness in Manege square riots

October 13, 2011, 10:57 UTC+3

The five defendants were arrested during the period from January to April this year

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MOSCOW, October 13 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow’s Tverskoi Court on Thursday will be question writer, a leader of the unregistered party the Other Russia Eduard Limonov as a witness in the criminal case on the Manezhnaya (Manege) Square riots, Dmitry Agranovsky, the lawyer of one of the defendant in the case told Itar-Tass.

The court is currently considering a criminal case, in particular, against the citizen of Belarus, an activist of the Other Russia, participant in the Strategy 31 movement Igor Berezyuk, activists of the Other Russia Kirill Unchuk and Ruslan Khubayev, as well as Leonid Panin and Alexander Kozevin who participated in the mass riots on December 11, 2010.

Berezyuk is charged with inciting mass disorders, hooliganism, inciting hatred or hostility, acts of violence against a government official and the involvement of an underage person in a crime. Khubayev, Unchuk, Panin and Kozevin are charged with making calls for rioting, vandalism and violence against a government official.

The riots took place in Moscow on December 11, 2010. They were caused by the situation surrounding the murder of a Spartak football club fan Yegor Sviridov during a scuffle with the natives of the North Caucasus, which occurred several days earlier. After that, up to 5,000 football fans and members of informal nationalist groups gathered at Manege Square as they were angered by actions of law enforcers who after initially detaining six suspects in the murder of Sviridov, later released five of them on recognizance. The unauthorized rally turned into a clash with security forces.

Criminal cases were opened on the facts of riots at Manege Square, as well as at the Metro stations Kitai Gorod, Tretyakovskaya, Tverskaya, Filevsky Park and others in connection with infliction of bodily harm, hooliganism and violence against law enforcement bodies.

The five defendants were arrested during the period from January to April this year.

Berezyuk is charged also with making appeals for public disorders. “As for the riot itself, my defendant doesn’t recognize any guilt on his part in this,” his lawyer said, adding that Berezyuk refuses to give any evidence as regards the episode with the policeman. Upon the examination of CCTV materials at the beginning of January 2011, the investigators drew a conclusion that Berezyuk had hit an OMON riot police officer at Manege Square.

Actions of protest were sparked off in a number of Russian cities, including Moscow, by the killing of the 28-year-old football fan, Yegor Sviridov, in a night-time brawl on the outskirts of Moscow. He was killed from a non-lethal gun by a man hailing from North Caucasus.

In Moscow, about 5,000 football fans and nationalistically minded young people filled Manege Square in the afternoon December 11, chanting nationalistic slogans and provoking incidents with the use of brute force against the non-Slavic-looking passers-by. Clashes between the protesters and the police occurred and 35 persons turned up at hospitals with various injuries by the end of the day.

The investigation into the criminal cases against other participants in the riots continues, spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee (SK) Vladimir Markin said earlier. At the present time, the Moscow City Court is hearing the case over the murder of Spartak fan Yegor Sviridov. Earlier, the law-enforcement authorities arraigned 21-year-old Muscovite Nikolai Dvoinyakov. He was detained on August 29, 2011. His actions were qualified under Article 318, Part 1 of Russia's Criminal Code (use of violence on government representative), Article 213, Part 2 (hooliganism), and Article 212, Part 3 (calls for mass disturbances). The investigators ascertained that on December 11, he was calling upon citizens to resist police and throwing metal fences at police offices. A court sanctioned his arrest.

On Tuesday, SK spokesman Markin said another participant in the Manege Square disturbances had been detained. He was identified as Vitaly Vasin, 24, a resident of the Samara region. He is suspected of the commission of crimes envisioned by Article 13, Part 1 of the Criminal Code (use of violence on government representative), and Article 213, Part 2 (hooliganism). Vasin is due to be charged shortly, the SK spokesman added.

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