During the last three sessions of the court in the framework of the «Zeitullayev case», the court interrogated six witnesses, declined all pleas for the recusal and all petitions of the defense, apart from the petition to repeatedly interrogate three other defendants in the Sevastopol «Hizb ut-tahrir case», and heard the statement of Ruslan Zeitullayev about the start of the indefinite hunger strike. Zeitullayev’s lawyer Emil Kurbedinov has told about this in a comment for QirimInfo.
«The investigation has a following opinion: he was an active recruiter and went around convincing everyone to join the Hizb ut-Tahrir whenever he had free time. However, we summoned Ruslan Zeitullayev’s fellow villagers, friends, who have known him for over 10 years – none of them confirmed that he had ever recruited them anywhere, or called to any secret covert meetings of the Hizb ut-Tahrir or something. Six people did not confirm any of this at all,» – Kurbedinov has clarified.
The defense also petitioned in court on summoning the expert, the district police officer and the attesting witnesses. All these petitions were declined.
«We petitioned to summon the district police officer who wrote an absolutely unacceptable [personal evaluation with regard to Ruslan: that he is a combative person, that he was noticed in contacts with the extremist elements, that he is just about threatening his neighbours with murder. We wanted to ask him where he had taken this information. The court, of course, declined our petition. We asked to summon the attesting witnesses, who attended nearly all the six investigative actions, which means, they go to these FSB actions as if it was their job. We were denied in this, too, » – the lawyer has told.
After the decline of these and a number of other petitions, Kurbedinov called for the recusal of the whole board of judges. However, the court declined this call.
At the last court session, Zeitullayev petitioned for the repeated summoning of three other defendants in the case, already convicted, as witnesses. According to the lawyer, this was the first time when the court satisfied the petition of the defense.
«I don’t know what this is connected with. Probably, it happened because there were many journalists and the representatives of the Ukrainian consular department on that day. I believe this played a certain role and the court, at least formally, satisfied the petition. However, the court declined the petition on experts, and we applied for the recusal of the board of judges again, and then Ruslan made the statement [about the start of the hunger strike]», – Kurbedinov has told.
He believes that Zeitullayev is turning the public attention to this criminal case this way.
«Probably, he even wants to turn the attention of the public inside of Russia, to a greater extent. A man is tried by the «military triumvirate», while he has no relations with the military system whatsoever. He lived peacefully in the Crimea for a long time, worked, raised kids. And suddenly he becomes a terrorist, facing 15 to 20 years in jail. This is absolute absurdity and Ruslan realizes that other cases will go the same way.
There are 15 more people expecting trials, and Ruslan probably wants to attract attention to all this, to avoid such court conveyor as in Russia. This is one of his methods of fighting for his rights, and he believes it could affect other criminal cases as well,» – the lawyer has clarified.
According to Kurbedinov, the decision of the North-Caucasian District Military Court in «Zeitullayev case» should be expected in April-May.
«I don’t think it will last long. We need to realize there will be the sentence. After the sentence, there will be our appeal, then the [consideration of the case] in the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation will be scheduled. I think that the final decision will be taken in late summer. However, these are conditional terms. Now our time schedule shifted for 10 days, in connection with the fact that the court is obliged to provide the video-conference communication with three prisons [where Rustem Vaitov, Ferat Seifullayev and Yury (Nuri) Primov stay as inmates]», – Kurbedinov has added.