Trial In Russian Soccer Fan’s Death Concludes

MOSCOW — The verdict in a soccer fan’s high-profile killing last year in Moscow is expected on October 19, one day after the trial ended, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

Russian soccer fan Yegor Sviridov was shot dead on Moscow’s Kronshtadt Boulevard on December 6, 2010 during clashes between fans of the Spartak Moscow soccer club and a group of men from the North Caucasus.

Six young men are charged with the killing. All pleaded not guilty. The defendants’ lawyers say their clients had no intention of killing anyone but only wanted the fighting to end.

Dmitry Pankov, the lawyer representing the main defendant Aslan Cherkesov, told RFE/RL on October 18 that his client had to use a pistol to defend himself as his group was attacked and was greatly outnumbered by Spartak fans.

Pankov said one of the witnesses testified that the fighting continued for 10-12 minutes before Cherkesov opened fire.

“Then, after the gunshots, just in one minute the clashes stopped,” Pankov said. “The question is why the witness did not call the police at once, but was watching the clash. The answer is, she was quite sure who was going to win,” he said, hinting the witness’s sympathies were with Sviridov’s group of fans.

The defendant’s lawyers repeated that the six are not guilty and had to defend themselves after “they were provoked by Sviridov’s group.”

The case made headlines after hundreds of Sviridov’s supporters organized a public protest in December against the suspects’ release on bail. Some ultranationalist groups joined the protest, which escalated into violence.

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