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Mirzayev released from custody in the courtroom

November 27, 2012, 14:01 UTC+3
Court sentenced the athlete to two years of restriction of freedom
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MOSCOW, November 27 (Itar-Tass) — Judge of Moscow's Zamoskvorechye's court Andrei Fedin on Tuesday sentenced athlete Rasul Mirzayev to two years of restriction of freedom for causing death by negligence in the conflict with student Ivan Agafonov.

The court counted in the time the defendant had spent in a remand prison /more than a year/, with one day counting for two. Mirzayev was released from custody in the courtroom.

Restriction of freedom implies restrictions on movement, and place of work and study. The supervision is effected by local penal inspectors. This penalty is stricter compared with suspended sentence, where the convicted person can ask for parole after the expiration of half of the sentence /provided he or she has proven their reformation/. Also, the conviction cannot be overturned.

The charges against Mirzayev were softened to "causing death by negligence" from "malicious infliction of grave harm to health which resulted in the injured party's death."

Ivan Agafonov's relatives expressed their indignation over the court's ruling. "Let me out; I don't want to hear this nonsense and lies anymore; I've been hearing it for a year already," the dead student's father said as he stormed out of the room. He offered judge Andrei Fedin, who was reading the verdict, to promptly announce the ruling.

Another relative of the deceased walked out saying "You will not get away with the death of a Russian person in the Russian land; the murderer must be in prison."

Mirzayev was listening to the verdict with his eyes closed.

The prosecutor had asked to soften the charges against Mirzayev and count in the time he had spent in the remand prison, with one day counting for two.

Mirzayev's lawyer Alexei Grebensky explained to Tass that since his client had no previous convictions and was held responsible within a criminal case for the first time, they "cannot imprison him under the article." The athlete therefore can be released as early as Tuesday, as he has already spent more than a year in a remand prison.

Earlier, Oksana Mikhalkina, the lawyer of the injured parties said it was likely the verdict would be appealed, including at the European court. She expressed apprehensions that the charges might be softened and that it might cause an upsurge of similar crimes in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia.

Meanwhile, lawmakers at the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament noted that the accident was "pure hooliganism that ended tragically," and called for not focusing on the ethnic point in this case.

"As an athlete who earlier engaged in martial arts, I'd foremost say that Mirzayev had to think what he was doing," member of the house committee for physical culture, sports and youth’s affairs Sergei Poddubny /United Russia faction/ said. He explained that "a person who goes in for such sports, is first of all trained to deliver a power strike." However, sometimes even athletes cannot think clearly. "It is exactly this case," Poddubny said.

"Anyway, we should not talk the ethnic point in Mirzayev's case; it has none. It was pure hooliganism which ended tragically," the representative of the parliamentary majority said. Noting that the situation with the ethnic issue in Russia "is heated as it is, he called for not fanning the ethnic motive where it does not exist."

On August 15, 2011, Mirzayev and Agafonov had a row near the Garazh nightclub at around 04:00. Mirzayev, "using professional skills and sport training, deliberately delivered one pointed strike with his left hand in Agafonov's face," the case materials said. The student fell and hit his head of the asphalt. In hospital, he slipped into a coma and died three days later. The defendant pleaded not guilty.

Five expert examinations wren carried out within the case. They did not ascertain the guilt of the medics in Agafonov's death.

Judge Andrei Fedin said the expert examination had not ascertained any relationship between Mirzayev's punch and Agafonov's death either.

As a result of the Mirzayev's blow, Agafonov had bruised soft tissues, i.e. an injury that did not cause harm to health, the judge said.

Security was tightened at the court on Tuesday, and a police cordon was put up around the building. Reports said more than 100 police were watching law and order.

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