Staunton, August 25 – The judge hearing the Ingush Seven case did not agree to defense demands that former republic head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov be called to testify, but he did allow the defense to present as evidence a statement the governor made about the March 2019 protests in which he exceeded his authority and violated the rights of the defendants.
The video showed Yevkurov demanding that the leaders of the protests against him be identified, arrested and sent to prison, something that he did not have the power to do under the law and that shows how he prejudiced the entire case (fortanga.org/2021/08/svidetel-uznal-ohrannikov-togdashnego-glavy-v-provokatorah-na-mitinge-v-magase/ and fortanga.org/2021/08/videozapis-s-evkurovym-podtverdila-dovody-zashhity-o-predvzyatosti-obvineniya-k-ingushskim-aktivistam/).
In addition, over more than five hours, the court heard from 11 defense witnesses who appeared in person and a 12th who spoke on a video link. All were unanimous in describing the charges against the Ingush Seven as “absurd” and in pointing out that the defendants in this case tried to prevent violence while officials sought to provoke the crowd.
The next session of this long-running case is scheduled for August 31. It is not clear when a verdict will be announced, although both the length of the court sessions, now far longer than earlier, suggest that the authorities want to wrap up the case, although likely not before the September 19 elections, lest a verdict spark protests.