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Court to deliver verdict in Yegor Sviridov murder case

October 20, 2011, 13:07 UTC+3

The Moscow City Court on Thursday is expected to deliver a verdict in the case of murder of Spartak football club fan Yegor Sviridov

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MOSCOW, October 20 (Itar-Tass) — The Moscow City Court on Thursday is expected to deliver a verdict in the case of murder of Spartak football club fan Yegor Sviridov.

The jurors will have to answer 29 questions. The main question to be answered by them is whether Sviridov’s murder was premeditated or not.

Generally, the questions put by the Presiding Judge Andrei Krasnovsky were about the fact of the crime, its severity, proof or absence of proof of the charges.

If the guilty verdict is delivered, the jury will also decide whether the defendants deserve clemency or not.

On Wednesday, the court postponed the discussion of the questions by the sides, because the defendants’ lawyers asked for time for a more detailed examination of questions to the jury.

The defendants also supported the position of their lawyers. Thus, the main defendant in the case Aslan Cherkesov told the court that the questions to the jury are put incorrectly and are accusatory. “Questions to the jury are put incorrectly and they are accusatory, so I would like to discuss with my lawyer the position and work out our questions,” he said.

Thus, on Thursday the court will have a discussion of the questions, after which Judge Andrei Krasnovsky will make instructions to the jury and they will retire for deliberations on the verdict.

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 (Manege) 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. Early in the day almost 10,000 people came to the Vodny Stadion (Moscow Metro) station and from there proceeded to Kronshtadtsky Boulevard, where Yegor Sviridov was killed, to lay down flowers and light candles. Around 15:00 the crowd started gathering at Manezhnaya Square, including members of several nationalistic organisations, soon becoming over 5.5 thousand strong. Sources indicate that as many as 50,000 people could have gathered. As OMON forces tried to control the situation, some protesters tried to breach the cordon on their way to Biblioteka Imeni Lenina metro station, resulting in fights between the parties. As OMON forces started dispersing the crowd, hostilities escalated, and both sides sustained casualties. A total of some 65 people were arrested, and 29 hospitalised.

Five defendants in the case pleaded not guilty. Cherkesov’s lawyer earlier stated that his client “does not deny using a weapon in self-defence.”

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

At present, the Moscow City Court is hearing a case behind closed doors over the murder of Yuri Volkov, another Spartak fan. Volkov was murdered in central Moscow in July 2010. Two Chechnya natives are accused of the crime.

On Monday, the prosecutors said the defendants did not deserve clemency and insisted on a guilty verdict.

Prosecutor Maria Semenenko told the jurors “the guilt of the defendants is proven by the testimony of the injured parties and witnesses, and indirectly, by the line of defense the defendants have chosen.”

The injured parties did not change their testimony while the defendants changed their version of the events, by “remembering” new details as they testified. Chief suspect Aslan Cherkesov lied when he was trying to show that he was acting in self-defence: he fired one of the shots at Sviridov’s head as the latter was lying on the ground. “Clearly, it was not self-defence,” she said.

Prosecutor Anton Shcherbakov drew the jurors’ attention to the fact that the defendants did nothing either during the fight, or immediately after it, during the investigation or at the trial in order to deserve leniency.

Yegor Sviridov’s widow Yana Falaleyeva said she believed the defendants’ guilt was proven and asked for a fair ruling.

Cherkesov stated he had repented the murder but continued to insist he had used his weapon in self-defence. He asked the jurors for clemency and objectivity. Meanwhile, all the defendants’ lawyers asked for a fair verdict, however, none of the lawyers asked for acquittal.

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