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MOSCOW, November 27 (Itar-Tass) — A court found sambo champion Rasul Mirzayev guilty of causing a student's death, yet softened the charges against him, judge of Moscow's Zamoskvorechye court Andrei Fedin stated as he was reading the verdict in the high-profile case on Tuesday.
"The court ascertained that Mirzayev had unintentionally caused Agafonov's death," the judge announced.
The verdict notes that the charges against Mirzayev had been softened from "malicious infliction of grave harm to health which resulted in the injured party's death" to "causing death by negligence," which is punished by a jail term or two-year restriction of freedom.
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.
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.
In his final statement at the trial, Mirzayev said he was ready to help Agafonov's parents and again asked their forgiveness. "It was a tragic case. I've been distressed all the time; I'm ready to help them and do everything. I did not strike him hard; but strike I did, and I've been thinking for a year and three months, every day, why I did it, why I struck."
Agafonov's father tried to insult the defendant and cut short his speech. The student's parents said they would not forgive Mirzayev and that did not want anything from him. Agafonov's father claimed the trial had been one-sided. He insisted on reinvestigation and questioning the key witnesses.