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Chechen Court Sends OMON Officer to Jail

Published: April 1, 2005 (Issue # 1057)


GROZNY - A Grozny court on Tuesday sentenced a federal Interior Ministry serviceman to 11 years in jail for severely beating a Chechen civilian - the first time such a trial has been held in Chechnya.

Sergei Lapin, an officer of the elite OMON special forces who was serving in Chechnya, was convicted of causing severe bodily harm to Zelimkhan Murdalov and of abusing his authority.

Murdalov, 22, left his home in Grozny on Jan. 2, 2001, saying he would be back in an hour, according to the London-based human rights organization Amnesty International.

That was the last Murdalov's family ever saw of him, and his whereabouts remain unknown. His father discovered that a young man matching his description had been detained in central Grozny. Police told him that his son was detained on charges of possessing cannabis and was later released.

However, detainees who had been held in the same cell reportedly said that when they saw Murdalov a day after his arrest he was unconscious after being severely beaten and his body was mutilated. A criminal case was opened in January 2001 into Murdalov's "disappearance," but his father still does not know the fate of his son.

Relatives of the victim wept in court as the judge spent more than half an hour describing the details of his beating and torture, including electric shocks and the use of dogs, according to footage broadcast on NTV television.

Lapin protested his innocence and denounced the court verdict as unfair. His lawyers will appeal, NTV said.

"I didn't expect anything else," he said from inside a steel cage for defendants in the courtroom.

"It's unlawful, unjustified and unproven," Lapin said.

But a lawyer for the victim's family said they welcomed the verdict even though it would not bring back Murdalov, believed to be dead.

"They are satisfied. A crime has been acknowledged as a crime and a real punishment meted out," Stanislav Margelov said.

The verdict was the first to be handed down by a Chechen court against a federal serviceman accused of committing crimes against Chechens. A military officer, former Colonel Yury Budanov, was convicted by a Rostov-on-Don court in July 2003 of the kidnapping and murder of an 18-year-old Chechen woman.





 


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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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