It is no secret that the courts in Russia fail to maintain their independence from the government. This is perhaps most acute of all if Chechnya, where the republic’s leadership have waged a war on the judiciary, and trumped-up cases are brought against anyone who says or does ‘the wrong thing’ in public.
The trial of Chechen writer Rizvan Ibragimov began on 5 May in the Oktyabrsky District Court of Grozny. The court of first instance deemed his writings on the origins of the Chechen people to be ‘extremist’. The latest hearing is being held after the writer’s defence filed an appeal.
On 6 March, the Sovetsky District Court of Makhachkala dismissed the lawsuit of Magomed Gadzhiyev, a member of the public council at the city’s Tanghim Mosque, against the Sovetsky District’s Department of Internal Affairs (ROVD). Gadzhiyev was trying to find out whether or not he was included on the ‘preventive supervision list’ (profuchot), which imposes restrictions on freedom of movement.
Seventeen non-governmental organisations in Georgia have issued a joint statement criticising the Supreme Court’s decision to transfer ownership of TV channel Rustavi 2’s to former owner Kibar Khalvashi. They state that the decision damages not only Georgia’s democratic development, but limits freedom of the media, a pluralistic media environment, and threatens the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration.
Daghestan’s Prosecutor’s Office has approved an indictment against Daghestani man Murad Valiyev. He is accused of organising terrorist attacks and ‘preparing for the violent seizure of power’.
Elchin Ismayilli, a journalist residing and working in the Ismayilli District of Azerbaijan, was arrested on 17 February charged with extortion, committed repeatedly, and abuse of power. Ismayilli denies the accusations and says his detention is connected to his work as a journalist.
On 20 February, Chechnya’s Shatoy District Court sentenced Maksim Ponarin to life imprisonment in a penal colony. The man was accused of taking part in an attack on Russian troops in 2000, during the Second Chechen War.
On 19 February, thousands of people gathered in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi to demonstrate their support for opposition TV station Rustavi 2.
The protracted legal proceedings surrounding the case of Elizaveta Aliyeva’s kidnapping are nearing their completion. The prosecution has requested six years in a maximum-security prison for the defendant. Daptar revisited the story to report on the trial.
On 15 February, the North Caucasus District Military Court convicted an Ingush man of public calls to terrorist activity. He was sentenced to two years and two months in prison.