PROSECUTOR REQUESTS NEW EXPERT ANALYSIS IN ZALIPAEV CASE
Kavkazskii Uzel, 26 August 2020
At the court session in the case of the Jehovah's Witness Yury Zalipaev from Maisky, the state's prosecutor filed a petition to order for this case yet another expert analysis, and the defense spoke out against it, the lawyer Anton Omelchenko reported.
As Kavkazskii Uzel has written, the Maisky district court of Kabardino-Balkaria has been considering the case of Yury Zalipaev since 16 July 2018. While there has been a break in the sessions that has lasted more than a year. After the break, on 9 July the prosecutor did not appear in court and the session was postponed. The court can start the debates, but the petitions of the prosecution have dragged out the trial, Zalipaev's lawyers declared at the time. On 27 July, on the basis of a petition by the prosecutor, the court summoned experts for questioning, who had drawn a conclusion about the absence of evidence of extremism in Zalipaev's statements. On 24 August, the authors of the expert analysis confirmed their conclusions in court. The lawyer again pointed out that the prosecution side was dragging out the case unjustifiably.
The prosecution thinks that during his sermons in the Kingdom Hall (the worship building of the Jehovah's Witnesses) Zalipaev not only spoke disparagingly about Muslims and Orthodox but he also urged other Jehovah's Witnesses to beat them. In addition, according to the version of the prosecution, Zalipaev distributed religious literature that has been placed on the Federal List of Forbidden Materials. Zalipaev does not acknowledge guilt. He is free on his own recognizance. The defense insists that the forbidden literature was planted in the worship building.
Today in court the prosecutor requested the conducting of a new expert analysis for the Zalipaev case. "The state's prosecutor today declared that he did not like the conclusions of the second expert analysis," Zalipaev's lawyer, Anton Omelchenko, explained to a Kavkazskii Uzel correspondent.
He said that the state's prosecutor asked to assign a new expert analysis to teachers of the Bashkiria State University and the No. 106 lyceum of the city of Ufa. "The defense asked the court to refuse to grant the petition and it stated a challenge to such experts," the lawyer said.
The court withdrew to the conference room. The announcement of the court's order regarding the new expert analysis is scheduled for 28 August, Omelchenko reported. [. . .]
Zalipaev was charged with inciting religious strife and with making calls for extremist activity. According to the expert analysis, "from the point of view of religious studies, statements that Zalipaev is accused of are not consistent with the spirit of the teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses," and "from the position of linguistics, there are no calls in his statements."
In January 2019, a judge in the Maisky district court, on the basis of a petition from the prosecutor, closed a criminal case against Zalipaev, based on the article in part 1 of article 282 of the CC RF, because of the decriminalization of actions that fall under this article. Yury Zalipaev was granted the right to rehabilitation on the basis of this article, but an accusation based on part 1 of article 280 of the Russian Criminal Code (public calls for conducting extremist activity) remained in force. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 August 2020)
EXPERTS CONFIRM FOR COURT THE ABSENCE OF EXTREMISM IN ZALIPAEV'S WORDS
Kavkazskii Uzel, 24 August 2020
Today in court the authors of an expert analysis confirmed that materials of the case of Jehovah's Witness Yury Zalipaev from Maisky do not contain anything that would permit considering statements attributed to him to be extremist. A lawyer indicates that the side of the prosecution is unjustifiably dragging out the trial.
As Kavkazskii Uzel has written, the judicial process on the indictment of Yury Zalipaev has dragged on for two years already. The Maisky district court of Kabardino-Balkaria has been considering his case since 16 July 2018. A break in the sessions lasted almost a year, from 19 July 2019 to 8 July 2020. On 9 July the prosecutor did not appear in court and the session was postponed. The court can begin debates, but a petition by the prosecution dragged out the process, Zalipaev's lawyer declared at the time. On 27 July, on the basis of the prosecutor's petition, the court summoned for questioning the experts who had drawn the conclusion about the absence of evidence of extremism in Yury Zalipaev's statements.
The prosecution thinks that during his sermons in Kingdom Hall (worship building of Jehovah's Witnesses), Zalipaev not only spoke disparagingly about Muslims and Orthodox but also called other Jehovah's Witnesses to beat them. Besides this, according to the prosecution's version, Zalipaev distributed religious literature that is contained in the Federal List of Forbidden Materials. Zalipaev does not acknowledge guilt. He is free on his own recognizance. The defense insists that the forbidden literature was planted in the house of worship.
Today in court experts from the Russian Federal Center of Forensic Expert Analysis under the Russian Ministry of Justice were questioned: the director of the laboratory of forensic psychological expert analysis, Tatiana Sekerazh; the director of the laboratory of forensic linguistic expert analysis, Vitaly Kuznetsov; and a religious studies expert, Doctor of Sciences Roman Lunkin. The questioning was conducted with the help of a video conference link with the Basman court of the city of Moscow, where experts were located, Zalipaev's lawyer Anton Omelchenko told a Kavkazskii Uzel correspondent.
On 19 July 2019, on the basis of a petition of the prosecution, the court ordered a second complex psychological-linguistic religious studies expert analysis for the Yury Zalipaev case. At a session on 8 July, the lawyer announced in court the conclusions of the experts: they did not find indicators of extremism in Zalipaev's statements. From their conclusions it follows that, from the point of view of religious studies, the statements that are attributed to Zalipaev are not consistent with the spirit of the religious teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and from the position of linguistics, there are no calls in the statements. The expert recognized that the testimonies of witnesses were a free paraphrase of Zalipaev's words, and such a paraphrase that is not confirmed by the materials of the case is not suitable for conducting an expert analysis, the lawyer explained earlier. Earlier in the Zalipaev case a similar expert analysis was conducted in the Dagestan Center of Forensic Expert Analysis. However the defense concluded, and the prosecution also agreed with this, that it was not fully carried out.
"During the course of today's questioning, the experts made clear that they strictly followed expert methods and their conclusions are logically based completely. The experts confirmed the conclusions that the materials do not permit finding an extremist orientation in the statements ascribed to Zalipaev," Anton Omelchenko explained.
He said that today after lunch an expert linguist from Makhachkala, Dinara Adzhamatova, was questioned. She acknowledged that the results of the complex expert analysis were more accurate.
After the questioning of the experts, the prosecutor's office requested another postponement of the judicial session for ten or more days.
"The reason for such a delay is not clear. And this will give a reason to doubt the confidence of the prosecution that they will be able to persuade the court of Yury Zalipaev's guilt," the lawyer noted.
He said that the court gave the representatives of the prosecution two days and scheduled the next session for 14.30 Moscow time on 26 August.
"The defense called attention to the fact that because of the dragging out of the judicial process, it will incur unreasonable costs. Besides, Zalipaev is restricted to not leaving his place of residence all this time," Anton Omelchenko added.
The delay in the judicial process depends on the complexity and numerous incidents of the case, an independent lawyer, Mukhadin Kardanov, notes. "The length of investigation in a criminal case is an undefined concept, according to the Criminal Procedure Code of the RF. The legislature interprets it as 'reasonable,' giving to participants in the process the possibility of undertaking all possible actions for confirming their lines, but it forbids the abuse of the time interval of this 'reasonableness," Mukhadin Kardanov told a Kavkazskii Uzel correspondent.
He noted that he recalls at least one case which the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria had under consideration over the course of five years. . . . (tr. by PDS, posted 26 August 2020)
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