Staunton, December 22 – Six weeks ago, Issa Kostoyev, an Ingush lawyer who also serves as an advisor to the Ingush authorities, said that Magas would seek reduced sentences only for those who confess and cooperate (youtube.com/watch?v=70nB4En22RM). Now the first sentences handed down show that promise/threat is real.
Timur Akiyev, a journalist for the Ekho Kavkaza portal, says the three Ingush protesters who have confessed have been given sentences that, with time served in detention counted, allow them to be home by the New Year. It seems likely, he says, that the 30 who continue to maintain their innocence will be given more serious jail time (ekhokavkaza.com/a/30338366.html).
The strategy of the authorities in this regard is transparent. On the one hand, they hope to divide the opposition between those who confess and those who don’t. And on the other, they are undoubtedly confident that the powers that be will benefit: those released will be discredited; those held won’t be in a position to organize new protests anytime soon.
But such an approach may not always work. One prisoner, Amir Oskanov, who initially said he would plead guilty in the hopes of a lighter sentence, now has refused, his lawyers say, after seeing exactly what the state was charging him with (fortanga.org/2019/12/amir-oskanov-otkazalsya-ot-osobogo-poryadka-rassmotreniya-dela/).