Monday, December 21, 2020
Defense Witnesses Again Show Falsity of Charges against Circassian Activist, Memorial Says
Staunton, December 19 — At the latest session of the trial of Circassian activist Martin Kochesokov on drug charges two days ago, the Memorial Human Rights Organization says, five defense witnesses said officials in the North Caucasus had put pressure on him for political reasons and thus supported his insistence the authorities planted the drugs and he is innocent.
The Memorial declaration is available at https://memohrc.org/ru/news_old/sud-v-kbr-doprosil-svideteley-zashchity-po-delu-martina-kochesokova and has been reposted by a KBR human rights portal (zapravakbr.ru/index.php/30-uncategorised/1613-sud-v-kbr-doprosil-svidetelej-zashchity-po-delu-martina-kochesokova).
The five witnesses, including Kochesokov’s father and cousin, provided details about both his arrest and what preceded it, particularly a conference he helped to organize in the Khabze headquarters on federalism in Russia, a conference the powers that be were especially outraged by as a manifestation of Circassian assertiveness.
Collectively, their testimony shows the KBR siloviki followed exactly the same pattern against Kochesokov as the Moscow did against Golunov with whom the Circassian activist is often compared but who as yet has not sparked the international protests that led to Golunov’s release (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/06/russian-authorities-apply-same-tactics.html).
The fact that Memorial is continuing to focus attention on the Circassian activist’s case gives some hope that the Russian authorities won’t be able to mistreat him in the way they almost invariably expect to be able to do when those they bring charges against are located far from Moscow.
The next session of the trial against Kocheskov is scheduled for December 24. It deserves to be the object of national and international attention as well.