Sunday, August 9, 2020

Circassian Leaders Call for Charges against Kochesokov to Be Dismissed

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 6 – In advance of a trial scheduled for next week, three prominent Circassian leaders have called on the head of Kabardino-Balkaria to intervene in order to ensure that the trumped up charges against Martin Kochesokov are dismissed and that the Khabze organizer leader is not sent to prison for ten years as prosecutors are demanding.

            Valery Khatazhukov, president of the KBR Human Rights Center, Muaed Chechenov, deputy coordinator of the Council of Circassian Organizations, and Zhantemir Gubachnikov, head of the For Peace and Concord organization have appealed to KBR head Kazbek Kokov to intervene ( and

            In June, police arrested Kochesokov in Nalchik on possession charges and incarcerated him for six weeks before releasing him on his own recognizance on August 23. Kochesokov denies the charges, says the drugs were planted in his car by the police, and further says he was tortured while in pre-trial convention.

            The new appeal specifies that his case has generated “a broad resonance throughout the entire country. The public organization Khabze he heads is involved in the rebirth and preservation of Circassian culture, traditions, languages, and developing ties with compatriots abroad.”

            Unfortunately for Kochesokov, it says, “his consistent and principled position on issues of local self-administration and the struggle with corruption has generated displeasure among representatives of local organs of power and he has periodically been threatened with physical reprisals.”

            They note that in the days prior to his arrest, various telegram channels with links to the law enforcement agencies put out the word that Kochesokov was “a dangerous drug user” and thus set the stage for the false charges and his arrest.

            “For us it is obvious,” the three say, “that the criminal case involving Martin Kochesokov was carefully planned and that there is no evidence to support the charges.” The charges should be dropped and Kochesokov should be freed. At the same time, they call for criminal charges to be brought against those who fabricated his case. 

            Khatazhukov, Chechenov, and Gubachnikov thus ask the head of the republic “to take measures for the defense of the rights and freedoms of Martin Kochesokov and protect him from a punishment he does not deserve on the basis of a fabricated criminal case.” 

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