Saturday, February 5, 2022

Ingush Seven Sentences Directed against All of Civil Society in Russia, Lawyer Says

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 15 – The draconian sentences of 7.5 to 9 years behind bars for the Ingush Seven handed down today are not just about them but in fact are directed at all of civil society in Russia, Kaloy Akhilgov says. The defendants and the Ingush will continue the struggle, and all people of good will must see that this struggle is theirs as well.

            Akhilgov, who represented two of the Seven, says that the defendants remain in good spirits, especially as they had long expected just such an outcome. And they hope that their sentences will be reversed or at least reduced by appellate courts (

            Everyone must recognize, he continues, that they were sentenced not for any real criminal acts but “for the expression of their civic position. In this sense, this sentence is absolutely bestial. It is not against specific people but against all who try to express their opinion” if that view is different than the one the Kremlin wants.

            “What has occurred in the Ingush case is in general a new milepost in the persecution” of such people; and as such, Akhilgov says, “this is a sentence against civil society.” That society must react and react strongly because this is a new “paradigm” that the Kremlin plans to apply throughout the Russian Federation.

            As for the Seven and their lawyers themselves, he adds, they will appeal up to and including to the European Court for Human Rights. It is likely that appellate courts in Russia will soften the sentence slightly; but the appeals process will mostly be intended to highlight yet again the absurdity and injustice of what has happened.

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