Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 42

Kommersant reported on October 28 that only a little more than half of the 69 people accused of involvement in the October 2005 raid on Nalchik and who have been in jail for more than a year will go on trial. The newspaper, citing detainees’ lawyers, reported that the charges against 13 of them had been dropped because of an amnesty. Six of them were released from prison on October 27, while the pre-trial detention period for the remaining 56 was extended to April 2007. Another 39 people accused of involvement in the raid remain at large.

Kommersant quoted an official in the republican prosecutor’s office as saying that the six freed detainees had been “non-active” participants in the Nalchik raid, while lawyers for those released said that prosecutors lacked either the desire or the capability of gathering evidence to prove their guilt. The newspaper wrote that in amnestying them, republican prosecutors were heeding the views of Kabardino-Balkaria’s president, Arsen Kanokov, who has called on the republican law-enforcement authorities to soften their position toward the detainees to help stabilize the republic. Larisa Dorogova, a lawyer who has been representing the families of those accused of participating in the Nalchik raid, including those killed in the raid, told Kommersant that the chief investigator of the Nalchik raid, Aleksei Savrulin, has forwarded documents to the office of the federal Prosecutor General’s Office for the Southern Federal District requesting that charges against another 13 people accused of involvement in the raid be dropped. If the charges are dropped, it will mean that only 43 people will go on trial next spring for involvement in the Nalchik attack.

Dorogova said, however, that the republic authorities continue to refuse to turn over the bodies of those killed in the Nalchik attack to their families, citing the federal law on terrorism, which stipulates that those killed while carrying out terrorist attacks must be buried by the state in unmarked graves. “The relatives of those killed stand at the prosecutor’s office every day waiting for news,” she said. “We are counting on the Constitutional Court, which is considering our inquiry about whether certain provisions of the law [on terrorism] are in accordance with the Constitution.”