Staunton, July 24 – A Russian appeals court in Sochi and an Ingush court in Magas again in rubber stamp fashion and without any legal foundation extended the detention of two Ingush activists, Malsag Uzhakhov, the president of the Union of Teips of Ingushetia, and Rashid Maysigov, a Fortanga journalist.
It is clear that Moscow wants to keep the leaders of the Ingush national movement behind bars in this way because it knows full well that any trial precisely because it would highlight the government’s lack of evidence could very easily trigger new protests in that North Caucasus republic.
In Sochi, lawyers for the 67-year-old teip leader who is officially classed as an invalid because of health problems sought his release from preliminary detention that was recently extended by a lower court to September 25 (fortanga.org/2020/07/malsaga-uzhahova-ostavili-pod-arestom-iz-za-delinkventnogo-povedeniya/).
The court rejected their appeal, declaring that Uzhakhov was guilty of “delinquent behavior” and might engage in anti-social activities of one kind or another if he were released to home detention. Some 25 of his relatives and friends travelled to the court but, in another display of official illegality, were refused entrance.
The elderly teip leader was originally accused of attacking government officials during the March 2019 protest in Ingushetia but later the authorities added to that the charge that he and a group of other Ingush opposition figures had organized an extremist group threatening to the social and political system.
The Memorial human rights organization has declared Uzhakhov to be a political prisoner.
Meanwhile, in Magas, a district court extended the pre-trial house arrest of Fortanga journalist Rashid Maysigov until November 11 (fortanga.org/2020/07/sud-prodlil-domashnij-arest-eks-sotrudniku-fortangi-rashidu-majsigovu/ ovdinfo.org/express-news/2020/07/24/sud-v-ingushetii-prodlil-domashniy-arest-byvshemu-zhurnalistu-izdaniya).
Maysigov is charged with possession of narcotics and extremist literature, but he says siloviki planted both of them in his apartment at the time of his arrest. He was detained June 12, 2019, the same day that Zarifa Sautiyeva was arrested. The lengthy extension of his detention was at the request of a newly appointed prosecutor who said he needed time to review the case.