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Court commutes sentence in Spartak fan murder case

January 19, 2012, 13:45 UTC+3

Akhmedpasha Aidayev's sentence was reduced by two months, and Bekkhan Ibragimov's - by nine months

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MOSCOW, January 19 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Supreme Court on Thursday reduced the sentences for the defendants in the case over the murder of Spartak football club fan Yuri Volkov in central Moscow in 2010.

Akhmedpasha Aidayev's sentence was reduced by two months, and Bekkhan Ibragimov's - by nine months.

The court thereby partially met the request of the defendants' lawyers, who had asked to overturn the verdict.

The prison terms were cut as the charges had been softened, but the Criminal Code articles under which the defendants had been charged remained the same. The defendants were not present at the Thursday hearing.

The Moscow City Court passed the verdict in the Spartak fan murder case on November 3, 2011. Aidayev and Ibragimov were sentenced to 17 and 6 years in jail, respectively. The ruling was based on the strength of the jury's verdict. The jurors unanimously found the defendants guilty of the crimes they had been accused of.

Aidayev was found guilty of premeditated murder out of hooligan motives, battery and hooliganism committed by a group of persons in collusion, and Ibragimov was found guilty of deliberate infliction of slight harm to health out of hooliganism motives, and hooliganism.

Their lawyers claimed the court of original jurisdiction had been biased during the review of the case. For example, the court failed to ensure the appearance of important witnesses in the case, and refused to question a number of other witnesses.

"A severe punishment was erroneously meted out to Aidayev and Ibragimov; in this connection I'm asking for a new inquiry into the case," one of the lawyers said.

"By selecting a jury trial, we hoped that ordinary people would see the absurdity of the charges against Aidayev and will acquit them, but the presiding judge turned the trial into a farce, cutting short all the lawyers' attempts to show the defense's evidence, which lost the jurors the opportunity to have an impartial evaluation of the parties' proofs," Aidayev's lawyer Abusupyan Gaitayev stated.

In his opinion, the presiding judge thus violated the principle of equality of the parties.

Speaking at the Supreme Court's hearing on Thursday, the lawyers asked the Court to let them use their right to fair legal proceedings.

For his part, injured party Alexander Domnitsky reminded the court that he had been threatened. "I was threatened and they said they would cut my throat and /kill/ all relatives," he said.

Domnitsky and Volkov's mother are confident that there were no significant violations during the trail and that the verdict handed down by the Moscow City Court was legitimate and justified.

The mother of the killed Spartak fan also stated that she regretted the Supreme Court's being unable to toughen the penalty. "If I had doubts before, I'm confident now that their penalty must be more severe," she stated noting that the defendants had denied their guilt and had not repented.

The prosecutor noted that the actions by the convicted persons had been classified correctly and that the verdict conformed to legal norms.

Yuri Volkov, 22, was killed in a fight in central Moscow on July 10, 2010. The investigators said two groups of youngsters, numbering three and eight people, clashed in the Chistye Prudy area. The fight was motivated by "personal dislike," the police said.

Volkov was fatally stabbed and died in an ambulance. Another two people were hospitalized.

The verdict noted that on July 10, 2010, at around 01:10, Moscow time, the defendants, setting themselves against other persons around them, and demonstrating disparagement to others, in the presence of strangers, attacked the injured parties whom they did not know.

The trial was held behind closed doors at the injured parties' request.

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