MOSCOW, June 7 (Itar-Tass) — Chairman of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin blamed mistaken identity for the sharp reaction by the mass media to the verdict for Sergei Tsepovyaz in the case over the mass murder in the Kushchevskaya village. He was mistaken for his namesake, Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz, who was a member of the Tsapok gang, Bastrykin said in an interview to the newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
"One publication actually lined us together with the mafia. This serious accusation is also a form of pressure. Such articles might provoke one into not solving a crime for the sake of his image," Bastrykin said reminding that the murder of 12 persons in Kushchevskaya was solved in record time.
Police figured out the gang in two weeks and got four of its members who had fled to foreign countries. Two were brought from Egypt, and two from Ukraine.
"I invited the author of the publication to go with me to that area and look at the situation for himself. As a result, the newspaper officially apologized," the SK chief said.
One of the much discussed topics on the Internet is the verdict for Sergei Tsepovyaz, who will pay a 150,000-rouble fine for concealing the high-profile crime.
Bastrykin reminded that Sergei Tsepovyaz had been found guilty of concealing the crime /Article 316 of Russia’s Criminal Code/. Under this article, a jail term can only be meted out to the person who committed a small gravity crime for the first time only in case of aggravating circumstances, but the court did not find any aggravating circumstances in the defendant's case.
"Tsepovyaz spent eight months in a remand prison as his case was being investigated. He admitted his guilt. The prosecutor demanded that Tsepovyaz be fined 200,000 roubles. A court reduced the sum of fine to 150,000 roubles, due to mitigating circumstance /cooperation with the investigators, pleading guilty and small children/. The prosecutor for the state regards the verdict for Sergei Tsepovyaz legitimate and justified, Bastrykin said.
The second Tsepovyaz - Vyacheslav - was a member of the gang. The two men are not relatives. Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz is accused of murder attempted murder, fraud, arbitrariness, and illegal seizure of other's property
Overnight from November 4 to November 5, 2010, members of three families were brutally murdered in the village of Kushchevskaya. There were three girls, aged nine months, 18 months, and five years and a boy of 14 among the murdered people. Police said leader of the local gang Sergei Tsapol had masterminded the murder. Tsapok was later detained in the Rostov region.