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Furgal’s case: new defendant and public deterrence

11.05.2023 @ 13:37 – 14:37 Europe/Helsinki Timezone
Furgal’s case: new defendant and public deterrence

About the case: In the case of Sergey Furgal, the former governor of the Khabarovsk Krai, there are four defendants:

Sergey Furgal (defense attorneys: Kozhemyakin, Starcev, Smirnov) – the former governor of the Khabarovsk Krai, arrested on July 9, 2020, and charged with organizing the murders of Evgeny Zorya, Oleg Bulatov, and the attempted murder of Alexander Smolsky (Article 105 part 2, para “a”, “g”, “h”, “j”; Article 30, part 3, Article 105 part 2, para “a”, “f”, “g”, “h” of the Russian Criminal Code). According to the case profile on the court’s website, he is also charged under Article 222, part 3 of the Russian Criminal Code for illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation, shipment, or carrying of weapons.

Andrey Karepov (defense attorney: Raevsky) – a former employee of Furgal, arrested on November 19, 2019. Karepov faces similar charges: organizing murders, attempted murder, and weapons acquisition (Article 222, part 3; Article 105.2, para “a”, “g”, “h”, “j”; Article 30, part 3, Article 105.2, para “a”, “f”, “g”, “h” of the Russian Criminal Code).

Marat Kadyrov (defense attorney: Mikhaylovskaya) – an airport controller at Mendeleev Airport on the Far Eastern Island of Kunashir, arrested on November 19, 2019, charged with attempted murder (according to the investigation, Kadyrov threw a grenade into the garage of entrepreneur Alexander Smolsky, Article 30, part 3, Article 105.2, para “a”, “f”, “g”, “h” of the Russian Criminal Code), and also charged with weapons acquisition under Article 222, part 3 of the Russian Criminal Code).

Andrey Paley (defense attorney: Sarbashev) – an entrepreneur, arrested on November 19, 2019. He is charged with the murders of Evgeny Zorya and Oleg Bulatov (Article 105.2, para “a”, “g”, “h”, “j” of the Russian Criminal Code).

The case is being heard by the Lyubertsy City Court in an off-site session at the Moscow Regional Court. The verdict will be delivered by the jury, and the presiding judge is Gennady Alexeyevich Tsoi.

On May 11th, the trial of Furgal began.

On the prosecution side, prosecutors Korobeynikov and Shcherbakov appeared.

The victims did not appear.

Not all defense attorneys appeared; attorneys Kozakov and Shkalikova are missing.

Furgal has three defense attorneys, all of whom appeared: Kozhemyakin, Startsev, Smirnov. Karepov’s defense attorney is Raevsky, Paley’s defense attorney is Sarbashev, and Kadyrov’s defense attorney is Mikhaylovskaya.

The jurors were not present at the hearing before the break as they were clarifying procedural matters.

The judge inquires whether there is any filming taking place in the courtroom. They respond that there is none, although there is a camera from the 1st channel present in the courtroom.

Furgal strongly opposes holding the hearing without the presence of the victims. Karepov states that due to a biased attitude, he refuses to make any statements.

Kadyrov opposes the holding of the hearing.

Furgal’s defense team is also against the proceedings taking place in the absence of the victims, as they consider the victims full participants in the process. Therefore, the defense side requests that the victims or their representatives be brought in to ensure fairness in the proceedings.

The attorneys for the other defendants also object because even the representatives of the victims are absent. Therefore, the defense is requesting the presence of the victims or their representatives for the sake of the fairness of the trial.

The court ruled to proceed with the hearing since the court cannot compel the victims to attend the process.

The court announces that there is a broadcast for the press in the adjacent room.

The court addresses one of the defendants: Karepov, do you refuse to respond in general, or is this a recusal of the presiding judge?

Karepov remains silent.

The court continues: Since you are silent, I consider this not a recusal. Please be punctual and without delays.

Furgal: I am deprived of the opportunity to communicate with my lawyers. I request a break to speak with my lawyers. I am not familiar with the case materials, and I have no idea what is being discussed at the hearing.

The court objects: This is not a procedural question that falls within the scope of the hearing. We are only discussing procedural matters.

Furgal: I am deprived of the opportunity to defend myself. This is my right under the Constitution. I still don’t know what I am being accused of. I strongly protest. You know why this is happening.

The court: The indictment was handed to you many months ago. The defendant’s meeting with their lawyers is fully ensured. The defense attorneys have not raised any objections. It’s their schedule, not the court’s business.

The presiding judge believes that the accusations made by the defendant are unfounded and continues:

– It was known that an introductory statement was planned. It will clarify the nature of the accusations. Have the defense attorneys familiarized themselves?

The defense requests a recess to coordinate their position with the defendant.

The court: Where do these claims of obstruction come from?

The defense: We are not allowed in when the investigator for another case comes. And he comes every day. We request that a letter be written to the detention center to allow us access to the defendant.

The court announces a 10-minute recess.

The prosecution requests for the charges against Timofeev to be included in the case and demands to declare him wanted.

Attorney Kozhemyakin asserts that the right to defense is grossly violated since the criminal investigation in this case concluded in May 2021 but continues to date. The defense believes that there are all grounds to return the case to the prosecutor because new materials have emerged in the case – a new defendant, Timofeev. Timofeev’s name appeared in the indictment, but he was not an accused party. The law does not allow for arbitrary supplementation of case materials. The attorney insists on conducting additional investigation, as they believe it is impossible to proceed with the case under such violations. They also object to the inclusion of new documents in the case.

The attorney for the accused Paley supports the motion of their colleague, stating that these documents should have been provided earlier, and their inclusion at this time is inadmissible. They believe it should have been done during the preliminary investigation and argue that the rights of their client have been violated.

Furgal: The process is unlawful. I still don’t know the essence of the accusations. How is this possible?

Court: There’s no need to scatter your thoughts.

Furgal: The prosecution is presenting documents and a new suspect.

Court: Are you objecting?

Furgal: There are no victims, they should also be asked.

Karepov remains silent.

Defense Attorney: Bringing the documents in order is the responsibility of the investigation, not the prosecution. We are seeing the documents for the first time. The prosecution is attempting to supplement the investigation materials, which violates the right to defense. I believe we should include them so that we can refer to them as a violation of the right to defense.

Kadyrov: I’m against it. We are deprived of the right to defense.

Paley: I’m against it if inclusion could lead to the verdict being overturned.

The court grants the motion to include the indictment against Timofeev and documents about declaring him wanted.

Court: Only the jurors will assess the evidence presented. I believe it is necessary to maximize the realization of the parties’ rights. The parties should have the opportunity to refer to these documents.

Furgal: I’m against it. Inclusion gives the prosecution the opportunity to expand the charges.

The court and Furgal argue, with Furgal insisting it’s falsification and manipulation, and pressure on the jurors.

Kadyrov: I want to report pressure and torture.

Court: That can be done later.

Attorney Smirnov attempts to speak, but the judge prevents it.

Attorney: I request time for preparation. We haven’t seen these documents until today. I believe continuing is impossible.

Court: You will have time for an appeal.

Attorneys Smirnov and Startsev request the disqualification of a juror because the candidate failed to disclose that he is the commander of the local community patrol in the Lyubertsy district. He was involved in patrolling during the self-isolation regime violations and received an award for it. According to federal law, participation in patrolling constitutes cooperation with government authorities, meaning he is directly affiliated with law enforcement agencies. Concealing this information by the juror is grounds for the annulment of the verdict. The juror withheld this information, which could lead to the nullification of the court’s verdict.

Another defense attorney supports their colleague’s request: We request the juror to be excluded.

When asked by the court about the reasons hindering the juror from fulfilling their duties, he remained silent.

The other defense attorneys and defendants also support the motion.

The prosecutor objects: We cannot agree with the motion. It is based solely on emotions. I ask the court to firmly prevent the abuse of the right.

Prosecutor Shcherbakov: The circumstances preventing the juror from serving are known to everyone. All questions were asked to the jurors. It was established that there are no such circumstances. The defense had the opportunity to ask all questions. The panel has been formed. A challenge can only be made in case of personal interest. In this case, such circumstances do not exist.

Furgal tries to object, but the judge does not allow him to speak.

The prosecutor: The motion lacks common sense. In hindsight, we’re all strong.

The defense attorneys express their outrage and mention discrediting.

The judge tells the prosecutor: I suggest you use more appropriate expressions.

The prosecutor: The arguments are invented; I ask you to remind the defense…

The court: Please do not tell the court what to do.

Defense Attorney: We are talking about an activity that allows us to speak about bias. If the circumstances became known later, we have the right to challenge the juror. The candidate understood what information he needed to provide. I will say categorically that we would have challenged if we had this information. The verdict is at risk.

A recess is announced, which turns into a lunch break.

After the break, the press is moved from the room for broadcasting to the main courtroom where the case is being heard, and it is announced that there is no seating available for the public.

The actions of the bailiffs are directed by a certain individual in civilian clothes, who explains that the courtroom is full, and technical reasons make it impossible to broadcast the proceedings to the press room.

On May 12th, members of the public filed a complaint about being denied access to the courtroom on May 11th.

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