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Fatal punch case verdict to be appealed

November 27, 2012, 16:31 UTC+3
Earlier in the day, a court found sambo champion Rasul Mirzayev guilty of causing the student's death, yet softened the charges against him
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MOSCOW, November 27 (Itar-Tass) — Relatives of the deceased student Ivan Agafonov said they would appeal against the verdict in the fatal punch case. Earlier in the day, a court found sambo champion Rasul Mirzayev guilty of causing the student's death, yet softened the charges against him. The time the defendant spent in the remand ward, was counted in as penalty served, with one day in prison counting for two days of restriction of freedom.

The athlete was released from custody in the courtroom.

"The court ascertained that Mirzayev had unintentionally caused Ivan Agafonov's death, which is proven by the inquest," judge Andrei Fedin announced.

The verdict notes that the charges against Mirzayev were softened from "malicious infliction of grave harm to health which resulted in the injured party's death" to "causing death by negligence." This offense is punished by a jail term or two-year restriction of freedom.

A range of restrictions have been placed on the sambo champion. He is not allowed to visit places of entertainment or change his place of residence. When passing the verdict, the court took into account the mitigating circumstances, such as Mirzayev' trying to render assistance to Agafonov after he had fallen onto the asphalt, turning himself in to the investigators, cooperating with the investigators and remitting money to the diseased student's family.

The court also took into account the fact that the defendant had no previous criminal convictions and had a small child to support. The position of the prosecutor for the state was taken into account as well, as it is the court's duty.

Mirzayev's lawyer Alexei Grebensky called the verdict legitimate and justified. He said he would not appeal it. Although Mirzayev spent in custody more time than necessary, he would not file a damages suit. "Everything was compensated by fair trial," Grebensky stated.

But 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.

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."

The student's mother has been in hospital with heart attack. "She's in an IT ward; she's been driven to it," her husband said.

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 verdict might cause an upsurge of similar crimes in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia. According to Mikhalkina, the Agafonovs will not file any damages suits against Mirzayev. "The Agafonov family has never taken money and will not take it henceforth," the lawyer said.

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.

He later added that the court had not been under pressure and that the verdict had been passed after an impartial and careful analysis.

Security was tightened at the court on Tuesday, as the judge was reading the verdict. Reports said ten people had been detained for disrupting public order. "Ten persons have been detained for disrupting public order near the building of the Zamoskvorechye court," the city police press service said.


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