Saturday, February 24, 2018

Defendants in Sagra attacks plead not guilty

The defendants in the case of armed disturbances in the Sagra village have pled not guilty.

"Today the court began to study the evidence in the case. The floor at the court meeting was given to the public prosecutor who announced the indictment. The trial will begin with the questioning of the complainants. They will give evidence with the use of video conferencing systems," a source said, Itar-Tass reports.

A group of 23 residents of the Sverdlovsk Region stand accused of an armed attack on the village in the summer of 2011. Investigators allege that in June 2011 a quarrel broke out between Sagra residents and Vyacheslav and Valentina Lebedevs, who also lived in the village. Villagers accused the married couple of stealing their property. The Lebedevs allegedly sought revenge with the help of their relative Ivan Lebedev, who was in prison at the time. They promised Ivan Lebedev a cash reward in exchanged for organizing a mass disturbance in the village.

Lebedev worked with Shota Katamadze to plan an attack on the village, together creating a gang of at least 30 people for the disturbance. The group arrived in Sagra in 13 cars, armed with sawed-off shotguns, traumatic weapons, baseball bats, wooden sticks, metal rods and other items. They threatened locals with physical violence and left after hearing the police were on their way to the settlement, Itar-Tass reports.

Investigators have questioned more than 200 people and 83 expert examinations have been conducted.

The regional police are also being charged with negligence for failing to prevent the conflict. One participant in the events is under trial in a different criminal case after being declared insane, Itar-Tass reports.