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Court upholds charges against athlete in fatal punch case

November 10, 2011, 14:31 UTC+3

The Moscow City Court on Thursday ruled that the charges brought against world mixed martial arts champion Rasul Mirzayev

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MOSCOW, November 10 (Itar-Tass) — The Moscow City Court on Thursday ruled that the charges brought against world mixed martial arts champion Rasul Mirzayev, accused of delivering a fatal blow to a student, were legitimate.

The court thereby upheld the decision by the district court which turned down a lawyer's complaint about the investigator's actions.

"A judicial panel has ruled that Mirzayev's arraignment is legitimate," the press service of the Moscow City Court told Itar-Tass.

The incident occurred in Brodnikov Pereulok in central Moscow on August 15. Student Ivan Agafonov was rushed to hospital after a punch delivered by Mirzayev and died several days later without regaining consciousness. The investigators learned from media reports that Mirzayev was the attacker. On August 19, Mirzayev came to the investigator and was detained there.

Initially, the court refused to sanction his arrest and allowed his release on a 5-million-rouble bail which the Fight Nights producer center pledged to transfer to the court's account.

But prosecutors appealed against the decision the next day, and the district court met the investigator's petition on two-month arrest of the defendant.

The all Russia Sambo Federation said Rasul Mirzayev had been disqualified.

"Athlete Rasul Mirzayev has been disqualified by decision of the all-Russia Sambo Federation and withdrawn from training for the world combat sambo championship in Vilnius on November 10-14," the Federation said.

Mirzayev's lawyers said the student had died not from the blow but because he hit his head on the asphalt as he fell. In that event, the charges should be changed from malicious infliction of grave harm to health resulting in negligent death (which envisions up to 15 years in prison) to causing negligent death which is punished by up to two years in jail.

Mirzayev's lawyer Dergachyov denied the reports that his client has multi-million contracts. He said the defence was ready to pass to the investigator or the court Mirzayev's foreign travel passport which had no valid visas at present.

He also claimed that it was Agafonov who had provoked the conflict and started the fight.

Meanwhile, investigators have been carrying out a complex and a genetic test within the case.

"The complex expert examination will ascertain the cause of the young man's death. An autopsy found that student Ivan Agafonov, 19, had died of a closed craniocerebral injury, but whether or not he was injured by Mirzayev's blow or by hitting his head off on asphalt depends on the result of the complex expert examination," earlier reports said.

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