The case of the Russian OMON soldiers shot in Chechnya continues

It was recently reported that a district court of Grozny did not bring down a sentence in the criminal case connected with Major General Boris Fadeyev (former deputy chief of the Moscow regional internal affairs department) and Colonel Mikhail Levchenko (former chief of the investigation group of the internal affairs in Chechnya). RIA Novosti informed that the results of the case are going to be summed up on March 22, when the judge has time to get everything ready. Most likely, Fadeyev and Levchenko will be sentenced to four years in prison. At least, this is what the state prosecutor insists on.

The case of the death of the military men from the OMON (special police unit) from the town of Sergiyev Posad (the Moscow region) who were shot in March of the year 2000 has been going on for a very long time. Fadeyev and Levchenko (they were accompanying the column to Chechnya) are accused of criminal negligence. As the Office of the Public Prosecutor believes, the officers did not take the requisite organizational measures and did not provide the column with any cover.

The column of the OMON military men was going to Chechnya’s capital Grozny via the city of Mozdok. The column was suddenly attacked with automatic fire and grenade launchers on the outskirts of Grozny. Twenty-two soldiers were killed (out of a total number of 98), and over 30 were wounded. The investigation said that the column was shot by Russian soldiers, another OMON unit, but from the city of Podolsk.

Both Fadeyev and Levchenko do not agree with the charges that have been brought against them; they believe that there is no corpus delicti in their case. Boris Fadeyev was supposed “to accompany another part of the column to Gudermes.” Mikhail Levchenko says that he started executing his duties on the position one day before the Sergiyev Posad military men arrived, so he did not have the time to look into the matter, so it seems that there was a misunderstanding. Both of the officers asked for a verdict of “not guilty.”

It should be mentioned that other witnesses of the incident (those of the OMON units who stayed alive, as well as the relatives of the killed soldiers) do not think that Levchenko and Fadeyev are guilty.

Here is one of the versions: OMON soldiers from the city of Podolsk were shooting the objects in the settlement, from which there was fire on the moving column. They could not shoot their colleagues! The defendants’ lawyers say the same: the state prosecutors are not right. One of the lawyers said that Moscow’s district court withdrew the disciplinary penalty last May, which was imposed on Fadeyev by Internal Ministry chief. This decision was confirmed by the Moscow City Court and by the Supreme Court of Russia afterwards. The lawyers also claimed that there has been no actual evidence presented to the court proving the officers’ guilt.

There are more questions than answers in this case; this can be said both about the defendants and the prosecutors.

Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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