Staunton, April 21 – At a hearing today in which more government witnesses failed to provide evidence of the guilt of the Ingush Seven, an Essentuki judge extended the detention of the Ingush Seven for another three months to August 9, rejecting out of hand pleas from the defense to allow at least Zarifa Sautiyeva to spend it in home detention’
The detention of the Seven had been scheduled to lapse on May 9, and so the decision of the Russian court in Stavropol kray suggests that the trial will extend beyond that date into the summer at least (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/363084/ and fortanga.org/2021/04/sud-ne-uchel-dovody-v-zashhitu-zarify-sautievoj-i-prodlil-arest-vsem-lideram-protesta/).
By that time, most of those now on trial will have been in detention behind bars for more than two years.
Sautiyeva did have one legal victory today, but it is the kind that Russian courts in the Putin era seem to specialize in. Her lawyer won a judgment on appeal that the attorney had been illegally denied access to her client in October 2019 and January 2021 (fortanga.org/2021/04/verhovnyj-sud-kabardino-balkarii-priznal-nezakonnym-nedopusk-advokata-k-zarife-sautievoj/).
For Sautiyeva and her attorney Fatima Urusova, the decision was irrelevant because it was about past events that the decision did not reverse in fact. But the appellate judgments did provide the Russian regime with something it could point to and claim that it was respecting the rights of the accused.
Meanwhile, there were two other “legal” cases in Ingushetia today worthy of note. The Ingush Mekhk-kkhel public organization demanded that Ruslan Kurbanov appear before a shariat court to explain why he had called Ingushetia “an accidental republic.” He refused and said he would happily turn up for a hearing in Mecca or Qatar (fortanga.org/2021/04/slovo-ne-vorobej-ruslanu-kurbanovu-pridetsya-otvetit-za-svoi-vyskazyvaniya-v-shariatskom-sude/ and bakdar.org/ruslan-kurbanov-otkazalsya-priexat-na-shariatskij-sud/).
And Ingush archaeologists are seeking legal help in restraining the Russian military from building on a place the archaeologists say needs to be explored and excavated first (fortanga.org/2021/04/popytka-aktivistov-otstoyat-zemli-v-sunzhenskom-rajone-natolknulas-na-interesy-vysokopostavlennyh-chinovnikov/).
These two cases underscore the Ingush approach of using law rather than protests to advance their causes.