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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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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The city’s Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during today’s Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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