“You are a nobody here and you must obey the bailiff.” Judge Irina Khimicheva surprises everyone in the courtroom again with her phrases worthy of a complaint to the Supreme Qualification Collegium. She showed “who is who” at the hearing of a Tajikistan national Abdulkhakim Kenjaev’s case by intervening in the conversation between a bailiff and human rights defenders. The bailiff had asked the audience members to keep hold of a cell phone and not put it on the table, closer to the judge and the attorneys. The human rights defenders tried to explain that the phone was to be used as a voice recorder and that the taping was already in progress, but their reasoning was disregarded.
A 19-year-old nationalist, Vladislav Valuev, cut Abdulkhakim Kenjaev to ribbons with a knife last winter. Kenjaev was working part-time as a taxi driver at the time. Valuev ordered a taxi to drive him to Myakinino after a night club. During the ride Valuev was complaining about “black-… scums coming over” to Russia. When the driver arrived at the destination, it turned out to be a wasteland. As soon as Abdulkhakim pulled over, Vladislav took a knife out of his pocket and stabbed the taxi driver three times in the face. While Kenjaev was unfastening his seatbelt and trying to open the car door, Valuev stabbed him three more times. Once out of the car, the taxi driver grabbed a bottle that was lying on the snow and tried to defend himself using it. The nationalist calmed down a bit and Abdulkhakim managed to strike the right moment to knock him to the ground and put him in an arm lock. Still holding his attacker, Abdulkhakim called the police and an ambulance.
Valuev’s trial was conducted in the special order – in other words, without conducting judicial proceedings – since the offender pleaded guilty. Human rights defenders were surprised by the fact that Valuev was charged with crime based on ethnic intolerance: usually the motive of ethnic hatred is kept off the radar. However, the health damage that Kenjaev had suffered was estimated as light: forensic-medical expert examination had been carried out in the absence of the victim. That is to say, the doctors had neither seen the scars on his face nor the struggle he was experiencing to speak after getting the stitches on his ripped cheek. Valuev was sentenced to 300 hours of compulsory works and a 10,000 ruble fine (around €147). It was the prosecutor who did not support the claimant and solicited for such a punishment.
It is noteworthy that right in the courtroom, before the sentence was pronounced, Valuev admitted he did not tolerate persons of certain ethnic backgrounds. However, both the judge and the prosecutor left this statement unaddressed.
Kenjaev’s lawyer from the Civic Assistance Committee, Magomedshamil Shabanov, filed an appeal against the decision of the Magistrates’ Court of the judicial district №198 and the case went up to the Kuntsevsky Dictrict Court. During the first hearing, where the same prosecutor as before was involved, a question arose as to whether the migrant worker needed help of an interpreter. Judge Khimicheva noted quite emotionally that the people who work in Russia were supposed to understand what they were talked to about. Apparently, even legal terminology and legislation excerpts were supposed to be understood by migrants in her view. Yet the judge postponed the hearing.
An interpreter did appear at the second hearing; however, the accused Valuev failed to do so. In judge Khimicheva’s view, it did not serve as a valid reason to postpone the hearing. As the judge only let the audience in the courtroom some minutes after the hearing began, it was attorney Shabanov who reported that the defense had pleaded not to hear the case in the offender’s absence and that the request had been dismissed.
Kenjaev’s lawyer lodged a motion to carry out a reexamination in respect of his client, as the first forensic medical expert examination had been conducted without the injured. The motion was supplemented by a letter of intent concluded with the Central Research Institute of Dental and Maxillofacial Surgery, where Kenjaev had been advised by a doctor to have a surgery performed.
The judge took the papers for observation and addressed the courtroom, tartly: “Please note: the patient’s surname is not stated here and there is no stamp… I invite the parties to present their positions. In the first place, I am interested in your view,” the judge looked at Valuev’s lawyer. “Not a single stamp, there is nothing, I believe this document рas no legal effect at all,” retorted the appointed attorney (Valuev did not hire a private attorney, instead he requested the assistance of a public defender).
Attorney Shabanov tried explaining her that it was only a letter of intent, which meant that the service had not been provided yet, which is why there was neither a surname nor a stamp. It was incidental to the fact that Kenjaev did not have the money to pay for the surgery. The judge took no notice of this clarification.
Judge Khimicheva spent an hour in the deliberations chamber to rule to uphold the decision of the court of the first appearance and dismiss Shabanov’s appeal.
Civic Assistance Committee continues fighting for the rights of injured Abdulkhakim. The lawyer is already drafting a complaint to file with the Moscow City Court.
Daria Manina, Civic Assistance Committee
Translated by Daria Gorbacheva, Civic Assistance Committee