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Trial on Oyub Titiev: day 1


On the first day the prosecution presented the court witnesses which did not have the slightest idea of the circumstances of the case.

The court’s progress was commented on by Galina Tarasova, the lawyer and coordinator of HRC Memoria’s «Goryachiye Tochki» program:
«The people questioned today by the court are de facto not witnesses. They are police officers that came to work and did their job on the day of Oyub Titiev’s arrest and did not know anything about the circumstances of his arrest. Some of them work in a different police department in Yalhoy-Mohk, 20 kilometers away from the place Oyub Titiev was arrested. The prosecution may as well have called police officers from Kamchatka as witnesses and achieved the same results. The inclusion of such people as witnesses should be seen as introducing an element of show for the public in the criminal case. This show is needed to create the appearance of how many people are testifying against Oyub Titiev. In reality, these people could not say anything about the case during the investigation or now in court. This approach to presenting evidence by the prosecution makes a mockery of justice.
In order to not be unfounded and provide an idea of the style in which the proceedings are being conducted, we are publishing a detailed record, in essence a transcript, made by an employee of Memorial in the courtroom. The next hearing is scheduled on 26 July.

The prosecutor asks to begin the proceedings with the questioning of witnesses. He reads the indictment.
The first to be questioned is a witness who was on duty at the temporary detention center in Kurlachoi, Bugaev.
On January 9, the day of Oyub Titiev’s arrest, he was working in the rapid response force. He began his shift at 9:00am. He did not previously know Titiev and had never met him. He did not see Titiev being brought to the regional branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Zaikin asks why the witness remembers what happened on January 9. He replies that his shifts were only on odd days.
The witness says he does not know how many employees have shifts on a daily basis. He says that he does not remember and does not want to lie.
The witness does not remember who the senior staff member was and does not remember the composition of the senior staff.
He does not remember whether he prepared a report on January 9.
The prosecution tried to intervene twice during the interrogation being conducted by layer Zaikin. He drew the court’s attention to this.
The witness has worked for the police for 16 years but does not know how many cars the rapid response force has at the regional branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Zaikin says that the witness is avoiding answering his questions by hiding behind his memory.
The witness does not know how the rapid response force leaves the regional branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Dubrovina begins asking questions. She asks why he does not remember the events of other days but does remember the events of January 9. He says he remembers because the prosecutor asked about January 9, that he has never left on a car as part of the rapid response force, and that he has never seen other employees of the rapid response force leave somewhere since he has started working there.
Zaikin says that if all 70 witnesses respond to questioning like this, this will not be a trial but a farce.
The witness says no one in the Kurlachoi regional branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs wears black uniforms with patches of the rapid response force. The prosecutor asks a clarifying question — whether during some time they also did not wear them. The witness says that earlier they did wear them, but that in January 2018 he did not see them.
The judge clarifies that Bugaev worked for the patrol police service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
There is no permanent composition to the rapid response force according to the witness. It is not the duty of the witness to know all the employees of the rapid response force.

The second witness is introduced: Abubakar Kaimov.
The judge asks if the witness needs a translator. He answers that he does not remember.
Translator Ayubova is invited in.
The prosecutor asks what happened on January 9. He answers that he does not remember — it was a long time ago.
He works from 9 to 9 every day.
The judge asks where his duty post was on January 9 and what he did.
He says he does not know Titiev.
Zaikin asks how the witness became a police officer without knowing Russian. There is no answer.
How does he communicate with people who do not know Chechen? There is no answer.
Does he know Biskhadzhi Bugaev? Yes. He does not know where he served. He does not remember if he worked with him.
Dubrovina asks in what language he provided evidence during the investigation. The witness responds that he does not remember.
Dubrovina petitions to investigate the first page of Kaimov’s interrogation during the investigation.
The judge notes that the witness was at his local police station in Yalhoy-Mokhka on January 9.
The interrogation protocol notes that a translator was not requested at the time. The witness does not remember what language he testified in. Dubrovina says that this is a serious violation.
The prosecutor petitions to disclose the witness’s testimony. The defense does not object. The judge grants the petition.
The prosecutor shows the witness signatures under the protocol and she asks whether he signed them or not. The witness, with difficulty, answers that he did.
It turns out that the witness gave his testimony in Russian. Why he is currently testifying in Chechen is unclear. Now, when the lawyer asks him questions, he does not understand him and waits for the translation.
He answers Zaikin’s question on whether he speaks Russian or not by saying no.
No one understands why this witness was invited to testify. Zainetdinova says that the court will properly access this.
They try to clarify with the witness whether he was at Yalkhoy-Mohka on January 9 or not. He says he does not remember, but he should have been there.
He does not remember whether he worked on days around New Year’s.
Did he leave the village on duty? He says he never has.
From what year has he worked for the police department in Yalkhoy-Mokha? He says he does not remember.
Did he ever visit the local branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kurlachoi during his period of service? He has difficulty answering.
What color uniform does he wear on duty? He does not answer and laughs.
On the right there is a bailiff in a black uniform, and on his left, there is a bailiff in a camouflage uniform. Zaikin asks which uniform is his usual one. He does not answer. Has he ever seen a police uniform? He does not answer. Does he himself have a police uniform? He says he does.
Does the witness know what the color black looks like? There is no answer.
Dubovina asks whether the witness has any diseases or injuries that could affect his memory. The judge interjects and says that they are interested in the events of January 9, and that the rest will be accessed by the court.
Dubrovina asks about the witness’s education. He is silent. The protocol says that he finished middle school.
Zaikin asks whether he has a green camouflage uniform. There is no answer.
Did he wear such a uniform in January 2018? There is no answer.
Does the police department where he is posted have UAZ cars with inscriptions of the rapid reaction force or rapid reaction group? The witness says he does not remember.
Zaikin: After this interrogation, I have a dream to be the head of personnel in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic.

Third witness: Deni Asukhanov
An employee of the police, Kurlachoi police department.
He has been working for the police since 2011.
He does not remember January 9.
He does not know Oyub Titiev.
He works in Yalhoy-Mokha.
He has not attended anything in Kurlachoi.
The witness had an internship before he entered the police service. He does not remember how long this lasted. He does not remember if he wore a uniform. When asked what kind of uniform interns wear, he remains silent.
He says he does not remember if there have been any interns at Yalhoy-Mokha, but that currently there are none.
The witness says that all police officers at the police department in Yalhoy-Mokha wear the same uniform. What kind? Camouflage, in blue tones. No one wears black uniforms.
He does not remember whether police officers at the Kurlachoi police department ever wore black uniforms.
He does not know whether he ever visited the police department in the Kurlachoi district.
He says he does not know anyone there.
He does not remember whether anyone wears uniforms with patches of the rapid response force or the rapid response group.
He does not remember whether there are any cars with those inscriptions. He said there are no UAZ Patriot cards at the police department.
What kind of cars the police department has, he does not remember.
He has never left the village on duty.
Zaikin says that the witness has a state award for liquidation of gangs. He denies this.
Dubrovina asks about the witness’s work schedule. The witness answers that he provided this evidence six months ago.
This witness has passed a medical examination. There were no recorded problems with memory.
He works at the police department since 2011 but does not remember a single car in the parking lot.
The witness does not remember any cars. Zaikin asks whether they ride out on horses if there is an accident.
Asukhanov clarifies that his duty is to do foot patrols. He says he does not know anything about other villages and places.
The testimony that the witness gave during the investigation is read out.
In the testimony it says he started working at the police department in 2009. In court, the witness said 2011. Asukhanov says everything started in 2011.
Was he questioned at the Kurlachoi police department by the investigators in the winter of 2018? He does not remember.
The judge asks where, when, and to whom he provided his testimony. He says he gave his testimony in the Kurlachoi police department.
He does not remember if other people took part in the interrogation.
He does not remember who interrogated him. He does not remember who invited him to the local police department. Amnesia.
How many times has he been at the prosecutor’s office? He says he has not been there.

Fourth Witness: Varayev.
He has worked at the police since 2016 in the department of Yalhoy-Mokha village.
He is not familiar with Oyub Titiev.
He did not participate in the detention and delivery of Titiev.
Zaikin asks about patches of the rapid response force. The witness responds that all police officers wear a standard uniform and that there are no such patches.
Titiev claims that he has visited Varayev’s house hundreds of times, communicated with him, his father, and other relatives, and that he often met him at funerals of relatives. He says they are relatives.
Zaikin asks if Varayev has been instructed to give false testimony. He says no.
The witness says that uniforms with patches of the rapid response force are worn by police officers. Zaikin asks if this is a separate unit or if anyone can wear the patches. Varayev says that not everyone can wear the patches.
The witness says he does not know what distinguishes employees with the patches from the rest.
He says that he did not leave the village on duty in January.
Mayrtup is not this police department’s responsibility.
Presently the witness works at the Kurlachoi police department. At the time of his interrogation he worked on foot patrols in the local police station of Yalhoy-Mokhka.

The next witness called is Andi Vadilov.
Witness says he does not know the defendant, and that he sees him for the first time.
He works with the patrol police since 2012.
He works in the village Mayrtup.
How he communicated with others, he does not remember. How he contacted colleagues, he does not remember. The surname of the senior officer on duty that day he does not remember.
There were three people in the group.
The witness says since January 1 the group has not detained anyone — not on the basis of narcotic articles, nor for any other.

The next witness is Akhmatkhanov.
He works for the police since 2009.
He does walk patrols in the village of Mayrtup. He did not arrest anyone for drugs in 2018. He did not participate in the detention of Titiev in the local branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
He does not remember the callsign of the car patrol. He does not say his callsign. The prosecutor says that callsigns can be used by anyone.
The witness says that he has one callsign and that it does not change.
The witness does not remember who the senior officer was in the group on January 9.
How he got into his place of duty on January 9 he does not remember.
When, where, and who interrogated him regarding Oyub’s case, Akhmatkhanov does not remember.
Zaikin wonders whether the witness received on January 9 any orders to deliver official witnesses somewhere. The witness does not remember.
Since January he has not arrested anyone linked to drug trafficking.
The prosecutor says that the defense is playing around with the witnesses. They ask to put this on the record.
Zaikin during the proceedings of the court asks whether police officers in the court wear different uniforms, like in the guerillas. Th prosecutor considers this an insult to Chechen police officers.
Dubrovina is outraged that the witness cannot remember what kind of uniform he put on if he does it every day for many years. There is a feeling that the witnesses signed the testimonies that they were given, which is why none of them remember anything currently.

Witness Gerikhanov
Has worked for the patrol police in Kurchaloi branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
He has worked there since 2011, on auto patrol, and he has a work Lada Niva car.
He sees Oyub for the first time. He did not participate in his arrest and delivery to the police department.
On his car «police» is written. The car is white, and it has not been repainted.
The witness says nobody wears uniforms with rapid response force patches, and that everyone has the usual uniform — a gray blue camouflage.
He does not know other drivers.
He has not seen cars with the inscription «GBP» [rapid response force] on the site of the local branch.
Dubovina asks where, when, and by whom the witness was interrogated. He answers: a long time ago, he does not remember, this year, in the winter.
Oyub asks from where on January 9 he drove out from, whether from his house or from the local Ministry of Internal Affairs. He does not remember precisely.
The car does not have a video camera. There were no badges either.
The witness says that other cars at the regional branch are not equipped with the GLONASS system. Then it becomes apparent that he does not know what this system is.
During all his time as a driver the witness never filled up the gas tank of his car.

Программа: Горячие точки
Программа: Поддержка политзэков

Титиев Оюб Салманович родился 24 августа 1957 года, живёт в селе Курчалой Чеченской Республики, правозащитник, руководитель грозненского представительства Правозащитного центра (ПЦ) «Мемориал».