Staunton, April 14 – As the trial of the Ingush Seven moves toward its final stages, a group of prominent Moscow human rights activists, including Lev Ponomaryev and Oleg Orlov have come to Essentuki to join with regional activists like Valery Khatuzhukov and Ruslan Mutsolgov to show their support for a finding of innocence of all the Ingush now facing charges.
The Moscow activists have often voiced their support for the Seven, but by coming to sit in the courtroom and reporting on what they have seen and heard, they are increasing the world’s attention to the Ingush victims of official abuse and the pressure on the authorities to render a less unjust sentence.
Both Ponomaryev and Orlov say the prosecution has utterly failed to prove its case despite more than a 100 volumes of evidence gathered and the testimony of siloviki much of which in fact is exculpatory of the Seven (zapravakbr.ru/index.php/30-uncategorised/1658-protsess-po-delu-liderov-ingushskogo-protesta-vzyat-pravozashchitnikami-pod-obshchestvennoe-nablyudenie, fortanga.org/2021/04/moskovskie-pravozashhitniki-prisoedinilis-k-ingushskomu-delu/ and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/362867/).
The next session of the court hearing of this case is scheduled for April 20, and it is possible that the prosecutors and judges may move to wrap things up quickly lest this outside attention raise the profile of what they have been doing and spark universal condemnation of the heavy-handedness of Moscow and Magas.
Meanwhile, a Stavropol Kray court sentenced Tagir Galayev for his role in the March 2019 protest. He was given seven months in a general regime colony but allowed to leave the court a free man on the basis of time already served in detention. He becomes the 34th Ingush to be convicted for participation in that demonstration (fortanga.org/2021/04/uchastnik-mitinga-v-magase-tagir-galaev-osuzhden-na-sem-mesyaczev/).