Golyanovo Slavery Hearing Put Off Again

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Jan 30, 2013, 4:10:03 AM1/30/13
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Golyanovo Slavery Hearing Put Off Again

A court in the Moscow Preobrazhenskoye District decided to delay the hearing into the Golyanovo slavery case last week. The court put off the discussion of the victims' complaint for the third time in a row because the investigator, Mr. Damir Samirkhanov, did not appear before the court.

In their complaints, the Golyanovo victims point out to what they say is lack of proper action on part of the investigation. In his turn, Mr. Samirkhanov states that he has not received the initial investigation files back from the Moscow Prosecutor's Office. He says it makes it impossible for the court to determine whether the investigative department, of which he is a part, took all the necessary steps to examine the case.

The Golyanovo slavery case refers to the situation of eleven women and their children who were held for up to ten years in virtual slavery by owners of a grocery shop in Golyanovo, a remote district of Moscow. Memorial and the Civic Assistance Committee's lawyers represent the interests of Leyla Ashirova, Bakiya Kasimova, and Mutabkharon Abdullaeva, three of the victims.

In a related development, Memorial/Civic Assistance's Svetlana Gannushkina met with the Moscow Investigative Directorate's head Mr. Vadim Yakovenko last Thursday. Mr. Yakovenko said he would ensure the case will be taken care of by the higher-ranking investigative body.

Yakovenko also mentioned the fact that it was the Prosecutor's Office that had decided to stop the investigation. He said the Investigative Directorate belived the investigation should continue. He also said the investigators were ready to defend their stance going up to Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika to ensure the case is re-opened.

Commenting on the meeting, Svetlana Gannushkina said, “Keeping up pressure is a must if there should be any progress in the case. The investigators should think about looking into what has already been said by the victims and check out the new statements that have sufficed since from other shops nearby. That may help uncover new facts and qualify the crimes properly.” Memorial and Civic Assistance say that it is not enough to qualify what happeed in Golyanovo as the “deprivation of freedom,” as the investigators initially insissted. Other serious crimes reported by the victims include illegal use of labour (slavery), abduction of children, and severe beating.

The new court hearings are now set for Thursday, February 7 (11 a.m.) and Wednesday, February 13 (2 p.m.) at the Preobrazhensky District Court in Moscow. Both hearings are open for the mass media.

January 30, 2013
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