05 December 2023, 19:13
Lawyers point to court's option to softly punish Nikita Zhuravel for burning Koran
Generally, Russian courts hand down fairly lenient sentences under the article imputed to Nikita Zhuravel, a Volgograd resident, for burning down the Koran; and the court in Chechnya has every option not to deviate from this trend, the lawyers interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" have indicated.
The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on November 2, the court in Grozny, on the third attempt, began considering Zhuravel's case. At the session on November 28, Imams of Chechen mosques stated that Nikita's crime had offended Muslims' feelings and inflicted moral harm to them.
The prosecution of Nikita Zhuravel is politically motivated and aimed at intimidating the public, the human rights project "Support for Political Prisoners. Memorial" has stated.
The cases opened under the article on insulting believers' feelings are cases of public prosecution; therefore, there may be no suffered parties at all, Mikhail Akhmetiev, an expert at the SOVA Research Centre, has emphasized. "Clerics of different faiths, as well as ordinary believers, can be brought into the case not as victims, but only as witnesses," he has stated.
The presence of the suffered party in cases of insulting believers' feelings is not necessary, Yulia Fedotova, a lawyer with the "Team against Torture (TaT)*, has confirmed. According to her version, in such cases, only an examination – linguistic or religious – is sufficient; and in fact, the consideration of such a case can be very prompt. She has emphasized that in most cases known to her offences under this article were punished by non-custodial sentences.
Ms Fedotova has pointed out that clergymen could show more mercy than secular authorities, and courts even meet them halfway. In this regard, she has recalled the termination of the case about the photo in underwear made in front of a mosque in Moscow in connection with reconciliation, despite the prosecutor's protest.
*The "Team against Torture" (TaT, formerly the "Committee against Torture" – CaT) was created by the lawyers who had earlier worked for the CaT, which was included into the register of the NCOs performing the functions of foreign agents.
Source: СK correspondent