Dagestan: Charged with a Falsified Crime, Sergey Evloev Acquitted
For a long time, Human Rights Centre Memorial has followed the fate of Sergey Evloev, a citizen of Makhachkala in the Republic of Dagestan, born 1991. Members of law enforcement agencies repeatedly abducted, tortured and beat him, forcing him to confess to crimes which he did not commit. In the summer of 2011, a criminal case was fabricated against Sergey, after a hand gun and a stick of explosive were allegedly found in his home during a search. In addition, under torture he gave statements about an attempt on the life of a law enforcement officer and involvement in an illegal armed unit. Evloev was charged according to Section 2 of Article 208 (organisation of or involvement in an illegal armed unit), Section 2 of Article 209 (banditry), Article 317 (an attempt on the life of a law enforcement officer), Section 3 of Article 222 (illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or possession of a fire arm, its main components, ammunition, explosive materials or an explosive device) and Section 2 of Article 167 (planned destruction or damage of property) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The interests of Evloev were represented by lawyer of the Caucasus bar, Marat Sagitov, whom HRC Memorial hired, and Ziyaudin Uvaysov.
On June 20, 2012 in the Supreme Court of the Republic of Dagestan the jury returned a non-guilty verdict. Sergey Evloev was recognised as innocent and he was freed in court.
HRC Memorial is satisfied by the acquittal. We are glad that despite all attempts by the investigation to fabricate a case, justice triumphed.
In the last hearing on June 20, prosecution witness Rustam Arabkhanov, a member of the Centre for the Resistance of Extremism (CRE), who participated in the search of Sergey Evloev’s home in the summer of 2011 was questioned. He explained that on the top shelf of the wardrobe a box was discovered which contained a stick of explosive and a cord with a metal tip. On the bottom shelf amongst blankets a handgun was found. According to Arabkhanov, the officers conducted the search because they received information that Evloev was a member of an armed unit. Arabkhanov said, that he did not know details about the attempt on the life of officer D. Khalikov. He reported that according to operational information, at the time of the attempt on the life of Khalikov, Evloev was in the mountains in the district of the Balakhani village.
When the jurors asked whether Evloev’s fingerprints were present on the handgun found in his home, the witness replied that they were not.
At the time of the questioning Evloev did not admit his guilt. He maintained that he was not a member of an armed group, that he had never been in the village of Balakhani, and that the weapon found in his home had been planted there.
The Prosecutor Mugudin Ramazanov announced a petition for the examination of a report of the inspection of a disk of photographs, in one of which Evloev is pictured on the outskirts of the village of Balakhani. The photographs were shown to the jury, in which Evloev, wearing camouflage and holding an automatic weapon, is standing in front of a pine forest. His lawyer Uvaysov drew the attention of the jury to the fact that the accused is standing alone and not with a group of people who are members of an armed unit. In addition, the photograph in no way proves that Evloev was ever in Balakhani. In turn the accused claimed that at the time of the investigation, members of the CRE took him to the wood, dressed him in a camouflaged uniform and photographed him holding a weapon.
As a result of the prosecutor’s petition, Evloev’s obliging testimony was read out, which was given at the preliminary investigation on August 16, 2011 and at the time of the “confession of guilt.” Uvaysov claimed that Evloev gave the statements under pressure, in the presence of a lawyer who had been assigned by the investigation. At the request of Uvaysov, the statements which Evloev made in his presence were read out. The defense lawyer pointed out the clear discrepancies in the statements. For example, according to the statements which were written as dictated by officers, at the time of the attempt on the life of Khalikov, Evloev was wearing black clothes. However, Khalikov reported that the attacker was wearing a white T-shirt.
During the course of the analysis of the evidence, the handgun, the stick of explosive and the cord with a metal tip which were “discovered” during the search were shown; witness statements and the questioning of the victim were read out.
In the last plea the accused said that members of the CRE had followed him. According to him, they wanted to organise an explosion in which he would appear to be a suicide bomber. Releasing him after the second abduction in May 2011, the officers returned his telephone to him and told him not to turn it off. They phoned him one night and ordered him to go to a certain street and pick up a package lying there. Sergey promised but remained at home and turned off his phone. Evloev also talked about how law enforcement officers had abducted him and about the illegal search of his home.
The jury announced a verdict of not-guilty regarding all charges against Sergey Evloev.
June 22, 2012