Staunton, Dec. 6 – As the trial of the Ingush Seven grinds to its end, prosecutors have advanced a new and more sweeping charge: they say the Seven, working with the Council of Teips, the World Congress of the Ingush People and the Ingush Committee for National Unity, tried not only to discredit the legal regime but to form “a shadow government” to overthrow it.
Prosecutors Dmitry Khandogy and Timur Zolotovsky made these charges after all Seven of the accused rejected the other charges as fabrications, blamed Moscow for bringing the charges, and insisted on their innocence (memohrc.org/ru/news_old/prigovor-lideram-ingushskogo-protesta-vynesut-15-dekabrya).
The Ingush Seven currently face seven to nine years behind bars if they are convicted of the charges they now face. If these new charges were to be lodged, they would face vastly longer and potentially life sentences for sedition. But what makes these suggestions so disturbing is that it appears the powers have decided to bring more charges against others in Ingushetia.
If that happens, there is likely to be an explosion not only because far more people would be involved in such future cases and face still more draconian sentences but also because Ingush and all people of good will would see the absurdity of such charges and demand that they be dropped.
If such charges were to be made and not dropped, the Ingush would go into the streets once again. And this time, more radical elements would likely take the upper hand, especially as the authorities are now putting behind bars the leading advocates of a moderate, within-the-law approach of dealing with Magas and Moscow.