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Mirilashvili Handed 12-Year Jail Term

Published: August 5, 2003 (Issue # 890)



  • Mikhail Mirilashvili sitting behind bars during a recent court hearing in his trial.
    Photo: Maria Krugovaya / For The St. Petersburg Times

The Leningrad District Military Court on Friday handed down a 12-year jail term to local businessperson Mikhail Mirilashvili, who has spent the last 2 1/2 years in jail on charges of creating a criminal gang, kidnapping and attempted murder.

While dropping the attempted-murder charge, the court gave its verdict based on articles 33, 126 and 127 of the Russian Criminal Code. The articles cover illegitimate entry into a person's living space, kidnapping and illegitimate deprivation of freedom, respectively.

Three other defendents, Mark Sidler, Andrei Demenko and Yevgeny Kazmirchuk, were acquitted of charges of withholding information relevant to the case, the illegal sale of precious metals and the illegal storage of weapons, respectively.

Defendent Viktor Petrov was sentenced to 5 months and 17 days in jail for storing ammunition.

Mirilashvili's attorneys angrily denounced the conviction, which they labeled "ridiculous" because, while the alleged kidnappers walked free, Mirilashvili got a jail term for organizing a kidnapping with a group of people yet to be identified.

"This decision is no surprise to us," Mirilashvili spokesperson Dmitry Mirapolsky said in a telephone interview on Monday. "We expected this would happen."

"It proves once again that the target of this hunt is specifically Mikhail Mirilashvili and no-one else," he said. "We're going to appeal to a higher court, and this situation will be cleared up there."

According to Mirapolsky, Mirilashvili's final statement to the court on July 25 alleged that city Deputy Prosecutor Boris Salmaksov was demanding a bribe of $1 million to close the case.

"He's already been singing this song for more than a year and half," Salmaksov said in a telephone interview on Monday. "I'm not going to justify myself to anyone, because there is nothing to justify."

Salmaksov said he is still sure that more careful work by investigators would have produced more evidence.

"The case turned out as it did because there was evidence against [Mirilashvili] and no evidence against the other suspects," he said. "There are tapes of telephone conversations with [Mirilashvili's] voice. There are tapes with other people's voices, but Mirilashvili says he wasn't in the office [from where the calls were made] at the time, and doesn't know who these people are."

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Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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