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MOSCOW, November 13 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow's Ostankino court on Tuesday refused to consider the libel suit against First Channel filed by Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz, a defendant in the high-profile case over the murder of 12 persons in the village of Kushchevskaya in November 2010.
"The court rules to not to meet the statement of claim by Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz," judge Yekaterina Dorokhova announced.
Tsepovyaz had sued First Channel for the statement alleging his planning the murder of the Akhmetov family. The plaintiff demanded that the television channel officially denounces the statement. He did not claim any compensation.
Tsepovyaz's lawyer Mura Musayev said First Channel, when saying "Tsepovyaz planned the murder of the Akhmetov," confused him with Sergei Tsapok, the key defendant in the case.
First Channel representative Viktoria Vorontsova insisted that "we're not saying that Tsepovyaz is accused of organizing the murder of 12 people; we only refer to the investigators' opinion."
Tsepovyaz's lawyer Musayev said the decision would be challenged at the Moscow City Court.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Krasnodar Territory court held the second hearing of the high-profile murder case. Six defendants are in the prisoner's dock, including Sergei Tsapok, accused of setting up and leading a ruthless gang. The case is heard by a jury.
The court turned down the petition by Tsapok's lawyer Igor Skripka to recuse the presiding judge.
Skripka insisted that the trial was biased and alleged that his client had been tortured.
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 Tsapok had masterminded the murder.
Aside from Tsapok, the defendants are his uncle Nikolai Tsapok, and Vladimir Alexeyev, Igor Chernykh, Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz and Vladimir Zaporozhets.
According to the investigators, each gang member had committed three to 20 serious and very serious crimes. They were charged with participation in a gang, murders, attempted murders, rapes, robberies, illegal deprivation of freedom, malicious destruction or damage to property and illegal keeping of firearms.
The case materials comprise 477 volumes. The investigators carried out more than 2,000 questionings and 600 expert examinations.
During preliminary investigation, two suspected gang members – Sergei Karpenko and Vitaly Ivanov – committed suicide in remand prison. Andrei Bykov and Vyacheslav Ryabstev have already been sentenced to 20 years in prison each. Sergei Tsepovyaz, found guilty of concealing the crime, was fined 150,000 roubles.