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The Russian Supreme Court overturns the ruling of a lower court on the murder of the leader of the Dagestani branch of YABLOKO

Press Release
June 4, 2009

Today the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has overturned a lower court's ruling on the murder of Farid Babayev, the leader of the Dagestani branch of the YABLOKO party and candidate to the State Duma from YABLOKO.

Earlier, on January 20, 2009, The Dagestani Supreme Court ruled that resident of Dagestan Rasil Mamedrizayev was guilty of murder and convicted him to 16 years of imprisonment. However, the court acquitted Seferali Sefemerzoyev charged in complicity in the murderer.

The prosecution appealed to the Supreme Court of Russia against this decision as it could not agree with acquittal of Sefemerzoyev. MamedrizayevТs attorney also appealed against the decision pledging acquittal of his client.

During the trial in the Supreme Court of the RF both the prosecution and the defence once again voiced their arguments. The attorney of the victim Doka Islayev representing on the mandate of the Memorial human rights society the interests of BabayevТs family asked the Court to leave the decision of the Supreme Court of Dagestan in force. He said that witnesses had been under pressure and the key witness of the persecution even had asked the court for protection, however had not got it. Islayev expressed his concern that during a new trial the witnesses would be pressed again. Leaving the verdict in force would help to avoid this.

However, the Supreme Court of the RF did not accept IslayevТs argument and ruled to send the case to a new examination by different judges in the Supreme Court of Dagestan. The Court also ruled out that the measure of restraint for Mamedrizayev should be arrest. However, no restraint was envisaged for the second suspect, despite overturning his acquittal. In the first trial both the suspects had been under arrest.

YABLOKOТs leader Sergei Mitrokhin who was at the trial expressed his dissatisfaction with the ruling of the Court, УBeing aware of the situation in Dagestan it is very difficult to count that the new examination and trial will be more objective than the previous one. Possibly, the last witness who is demanding protection, and the previous verdict was based on his evidence, will have to resist even grater pressure which may finally make him to withhold the evidence.Ф

Mitorkhin also noted that Уthe political forces standing behind the murder of Farid Babayev will spare no effort for acquittal of the convicts: with the help of attorneys, threats, (including threatening to the jury) and bribes.Ф

УThere are prospects that another political murder in Russia will be left unpunished. Unfortunately the present verdict, regardless of the motives of the judges, leads to a situation when there will be no prospects to punish the real murderers, moreover those who had ordered this murder,Ф he said.

See also:

The Murder of Farid Babayev

Press Release
June 4, 2009