By Paul Goble
Both the prosecution and the defense in the Ingush Seven trial have focused on one set of charges up to now: they have both dealt with official claims and defense denials that the seven were involved in promoting violence against the siloviki during the March 2019 protests against the land deal with Chechnya.
But now over the course of 11 hours of hearings yesterday and today, the defense has taken aim at the second set of charges, those which claim the defendants organized an extremist group that sought to overthrow the Ingush government (fortanga.org/2021/09/video-s-mitinga-podtverdilo-neprichastnost-ingushskih-aktivistov-k-sozdaniyu-ekstremistskogo-soobshhestva/).
Both a series of witnesses, including a former senior republic interior ministry official, and video tapes shown to the court demolished the government’s case as far as these second charges are concerned. They showed that the accuses not only weren’t involved in any such organization but did not even know about others who were discussing such a possibility.
Magomed-Girey Sukiyev, the former interior ministry official said that none of the defendants turned to him to help organize a coup as the government has charged and that such suggestions were completely “absurd” (fortanga.org/2021/09/svidetel-schel-absurdnoj-versiyu-o-podgotovke-zahvata-vlasti-barahom-chemurzievym/).
To the best of his knowledge, Sukiyev continued, there is absolutely no indication that the Seven were involved in anything illegal let alone qualifying as extremist under Russian law. The next session of the court hearing the case is now scheduled for September 28.
Meanwhile, another judge in Essentuki ruled against defense applications for the release of Akhmed Pogorov, the former republic interior minister who took an active part in organizing the protests against the land deal. His lawyers said his health requires treatment he can’t get while in detention.
Instead, the judge extended his detention through December 25 (fortanga.org/2021/09/arest-ahmedu-pogorovu-prodlen-eshhe-na-tri-mesyacza/).