Retired Interior Ministry employee Tagir Velagaev's sentence of 2 years of probation for the killing of his wife has been upheld by a Daghestani court — he had initially been charged with ‘murder’ and faced time in prison before a court reclassified the charge.
According to Chernovik, a Daghestan based independent news outlet, the body of Makhachkala resident Umuzhat Huseynova was found in her apartment on 5 February 2019. Shortly thereafter her ex-husband, Tagir Velagaev, was detained by police. The day after the killing he confessed to the murder.
Despite the gravity of the crime, he was released from police custody during the murder investigation, with the only limitation on his freedom the requirement that he had to remain within Daghestan. Velagaev had previously been employed in the criminal investigation department of Daghestan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In March 2020, the Sovetsky District Court reclassified the charges against Velagaev from ‘murder’ to ‘murder committed during a state of physiological passion’. Velagaev was found guilty of the latter charge and sentenced to 2 years of probation.
In June 2020, this verdict was overturned by the appeals board of the Supreme Court of Daghestan and the case was submitted for review.
On Tuesday, the Sovetsky District Court of Makhachkala re-sentenced Velagaev to 2 years probation and refused to reclassify the killing as ‘murder’, which would have entailed a prison sentence.
According to the court’s press service, they took into account that Velagaev served in the police, was awarded the order of courage, had cooperated with the investigation and had young children and an elderly mother to support.
Velagaev’s probation will end in February 2022.
The ruling echoes a similar case this past summer in Ingushetia. In August, the Magas City Court sentenced local resident Magomed-Bashir Mogushkov to 2 years probation after he killed his sister, Elizaveta Mogushkova.
According to Legal Initiative, a Russia-based legal watchdog, the court ruled that Mogushkov committed the crime in a ‘state of physiological passion’. Mogushkova was killed after footage of her engaging in sexual intercourse was published online as part of a blackmail scheme.