Announcement of the verdict against Alexander Khmelev in the case on abandoning the service in the Grozny garrison military court. Screenshot of the photo published on the "Grozny Inform" website on December 26, 2022

16 July 2023, 20:21

Chechen courts demonstrate tougher approach to desertion

After the announcement of mobilization, the toughening of the Russian legislation has led to more severe sentences for absence from a military unit or desertion, including in Chechnya, where coercion to participate in the special military operation (SMO) is typical, human rights defenders have noted.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in May this year a court in Grozny sentenced Vyacheslav Andrienko, a military serviceman, to two years in prison, finding him guilty of leaving his unit in the SMO zone without permission. In December 2022, the Grozny Garrison Military Court sentenced Alexander Khmelyov to the same prison term for being absent at his unit for more than two weeks.

Anatoly Salin, a member of the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, has stated that after the start of the SMO in Ukraine, sentences for escaping from military units envisaging real prison terms began to be issued more often. According to his version, before the start of the SMO, such cases ended in conditional imprisonments.

According to Artyom Mugunyants, a lawyer for the "Anti-Prizyv" (Anti-Draft) community, in Chechnya, sentences are tougher than in other Russian regions. "Chechnya has always stood out for its cruelty, because everything is based on fear there," he has stated.

Svetlana Gannushkina*, the head of the "Civic Assistance" Committee*, has noted that prison terms had been imposed in Chechnya for leaving military units without permission, but subsequently the sentences were commuted.

"The leadership of Chechnya calls on everyone to go to war. They gather young people collectively and forcibly, without explaining why they should fight," Ms Gannushkina* has added.

*Included by the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) into the register of foreign agents.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 15, 2023 at 05:15 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: СK correspondent

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