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Security tightened around Moscow court ahead of verdict in fatal punch case

August 14, 2012, 11:47 UTC+3

Mirzayev, 26, a sambo Russian and world champion, is accused of "malicious infliction of grave harm to health which resulted in the victim's death by negligence"

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MOSCOW, August 14 (Itar-Tass) — Security has been tightened at Moscow's Zamoskvorechye court on Tuesday which is expected to hand down a verdict for athlete Rasul Mirzayev, accused of delivering a fatal punch at student Ivan Agafonov. The tragedy occurred in the summer of 2011 and caused a public stir.

Law-enforcement personnel sealed off the court premises and reinforced police units are on hand in the area. The control at the entrance to the court building has been tightened as well.

Despite the information about actions in support of the injured parties, only mass media representatives have gathered near the court so far.

Mirzayev, 26, a sambo Russian and world champion, is accused of "malicious infliction of grave harm to health which resulted in the victim's death by negligence." If convicted, he might face up to 15 years in prison. The investigator said the punch Mirzayev had thrown at Agafonov caused the latter’s death in a conflict near a nightclub.

The fatal incident occurred in Brodnikov Pereulok in central Moscow on August 15, 2011. Student Ivan Agafonov was rushed to hospital after a blow struck by Mirzayev near the Garage nightclub and died several days later without regaining consciousness.

"Mirzayev, using professional skills and sport training, deliberately delivered one pointed blow with his left hand in Agafonov's face," according to the case materials.

Several expert examinations were carried out within the case, which showed that the death had been caused by a fall onto asphalt after a powerful blow. Mirzayev turned himself in to police the next day after the incident.

The defendant pleaded not guilty.

During the arguments of the parties prosecutor Yulia Zotova asked the court to soften the charges against Mirzayev. She said the medical expert examination had not found causal relationship between the athlete’s blow and Agafonov's death.

Also, she referred to the testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution and doctors of the hospital where Afgafonov had died. Witnesses said that after the blow, Agafonov said he was feeling OK and that despite the headache, he could move on his own and even declined to call an ambulance.

The prosecutors asked the court to punish Mirzayev by two-year restriction of freedom.

The injured parties' defense was indignant at the prosecutor's request. Alexander Agafonov, the father of the diseased, said he was "categorically opposed to the softening of the charges against his son's killer."

During the arguments of the parties, Mirzayev's lawyer suggested that the two young men could have known each other and presented a photo showing a group of persons, including Agafonov and Mirzayev. The picture was taken at the Leon sport club, the lawyer said.

Mirzayev narrated his version of the conflict at a hearing last week. He said his girlfriend had told him that a young man had been making a pass at her, aiming his radio-controlled toy car at her. Mirzayev walked up to the guy and put his foot on the toy car.

"Agafonov provocatively said he was picking up girls, and in response to my words that it was my girlfriend, he said he would pick me up if need be. After that Agafonov began to make a swing as if he wanted to hit me: I saw it; I know it as a fighter. He took a stance and wanted to deliver a punch. To this end, he put the car's joystick in his left hand. I struck his cheek without taking a swing," Mirzayev said.

The athlete said he had "struck in order to stop the fight and calm Agafonov down. I did not hit him hard, I never imagined he would have such a fall, I didn't wish it. I was not using any professional fighter's skills," the defendant said.

When he saw that Agafonov was not standing up, he began to provide the assistance to him, standard for knockout victim. "When I heard the news that Agafonov had died, I was shocked. Then I turned myself in to police. I regret what has happened, I keep seeing him, and I feel bad. I didn't wish to cause harm to his health," Mirzayev said.

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