Staunton, March 27 – In a Kislovodsk courtroom yesterday, Barakh Chemurziyev, an Ingush activist who has been charged with extremism for his role in the protests in that republic in 2018-2019, testified that the March 2019 gathering did not qualify as a meeting because there were no speakers and no banners.
Instead, he told the court, people were simply milling around waiting to see what the authorities might do with respect to requests for official approval of a demonstration, thus confirming the video shown in the case against the Ingush Seven. The next session of his case will be on June 1 (fortanga.org/2021/05/barah-chemurziev-dal-pokazaniya-v-sude/).
Meanwhile, in another high-profile case, Akhmed Pogorov, vice president of the World Congress of the Ingush People, was rearrested in a hospital room after being released from the detention center to home confinement when officials decided to charge him with being an organizer of an extremist community (ovdinfo.org/express-news/2021/05/27/lidera-ingushskogo-protesta-vernuli-v-sizo-zasedanie-suda-proshlo-nochyu-bez, fortanga.org/2021/05/ahmedu-pogorovu-vmenili-statyu-ob-uchastii-v-ekstremistskom-soobshhestve/ and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/364344/).
Pogorov’s attorney suggested that the siloviki had put pressure on the courts to rearrest the longtime activist and that the courts had complied possibly because Pogorov himself earlier had avoided arrest for so long. The lawyer said that he will appeal the decision against his client who remains ill (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/364368/, kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/364319/ and fortanga.org/2021/05/zashhita-pogorova-namerena-privlech-sudyu-k-otvetstvennosti/).
Such back-and-forth among the siloviki, the courts, and lawyers for defendants has become the norm in Ingushetia, leading to a situation in which the media sometimes reports only the softening and at other times only the hardening of the official position. But the overall trend is clear: Magas backed by Moscow is becoming ever more repressive of Ingush activists.