Murder case witness claims attack was not fan fight

MOSCOW, August 19 (Itar-Tass) — The Moscow City Court continued on Thursday to take evidence from the injured parties in the case over the fight in Kronshtadsky Boulevard (Street) in Moscow last year, in which Spartak football club fan Yegor Sviridov was killed. His death caused mass disturbances in the city’s Manezhnaya Square.

Sergei Gasparyan told the court that he believed the attackers had a precise plan. “They (the attackers) acted precisely, giving (us) no chance to get up, and quickly moved to finish off. They hit us on the head and jumped on the heads, so that a person could not stand up,” Gasparyan said. He identified four of five suspects as the attackers.

He also said Aslan Cherkesov, who stands accused of the murder, had shot at him several times. “I am certain that he was aiming at my head, because as I was covering my head with an arm, and a bullet hit my arm,” Gasparyan said.

Cherkesov shot him in the shoulder, the neck and the thigh. Gasparyan said he had seen Cherkseov shooting at Filatov, another injured party.

“I stepped toward him, he turned round and began to shoot at me. He was firing practically point-blank: he was walking toward me, bearing on me, and shooting,” Gasparyan said, adding that Cherkesov continued to pull the trigger even after he had run out of ammunition.

He rejected the speculation that he or his friends had been members of a fan club or youth organization. According to Gasparyan, he and Sviridov were just supporters of the Spartak football club.

In his opinion, the aggressive behavior of the attackers provoked the fight. “I know, they beat up somebody at that cafe a day before, and that Cherkesov shot with the same pistol. Our group never gave a reason to be attacked. We only had to catch taxi and go home,” he underlined.

At the previous hearing, the court questioned injured parties Dmitry Petrochenkov and Dmitry Kornakov. They, too, recognized the defendants as the masterminds behind the fight and rejected the fan fight lead, stating that it had been an attack.

Six people are in the prisoners’ dock. Aslan Cherkesov, 27, a native of Nalchik, is accused of murder, attempted murder, deliberate infliction of light harm to health, robbery and hooliganism. The other defendants – Dagestan natives Akai Akayev, 20, Artur Arsibiyev, 20 and Nariman Ismailov, 20, Ramazan Uatarbiyev, 21 and Khasan Ibragimov, 19 are accused of hooliganism and malicious infliction of light harm to health.

Five defendants pleaded not guilty. Cherkesov’s lawyer stated that his client “does not deny using a weapon in Kronshtadsky Boulevard.”

He had no intent to kill, and using a non-lethal gun to protect himself was the only thing he did in the fight,” lawyer Vladimir Popkov said.

Cherkesov pleaded not guilty to the charges of robbery and hooliganism.

The investigators said on December 6 night, 2010, the defendants, in a state of alcoholic intoxication, walked up to a group of Muscovites waiting for a taxi at a public transport stop. “Using an insignificant pretext and a phrase by one of the Muscovites, they attacked the young people and beat them up,” a prosecutor earlier said.

Cherkesov used his non-lethal Streamer 2014 pistol in the fight. He shot twice at two people, inflicting light harm on them, and then he shot Sviridov twice. Sviridov died of his wounds. Then Cherkesov fired at least six shots at another victim, and having stolen a bag, fled with his accomplices.

During preliminary hearing, the defendants asked the court to protect them, saying they had been threatened.

Meanwhile, the police officers who testified as witnesses in the case, said no injuries had been inflicted on the attackers during the fight.

A police officer said three of the six suspects had been detained at the intersection of Kronshtadsky Boulevard and Smolnaya Street soon after the attack. “There were no bodily injuries on the young people; just one of them had an abrasion and blood on his hand,” the witnesses said.

He noted that when asked about the hand injury, the suspect (Akayev – eds Itar-Tass) explained that he had got an injury in training. Also, there was blood on Akayev’s jogging shoes.

When the trio was brought to the scene, a female eyewitnesses recognized them. “She told police that Cherkesov had carried a gun and that he had fired it. The others were involved in the fight,” the police officer said. He noted that he had seen blood on Ibragimov’s clothes, too.

The police officer underlined that Cherkesov’s pistol had been confiscated. “When Cherkesov was escaping, he dropped an object resembling a bag. Police later found that the bag belonged to one of the victims.”

At the present time, Moscow’s Tverskoi court is reviewing a case over mass disturbances in the city’s Manezhnaya Square. Charges were brought against five people.

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