Trial of ex-police officers accused in Golunov case postponed
Just minutes after the start of today’s hearing in the trial of the former police officers accused of staging Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov’s false arrest last summer, the Moscow City Court decided to postpone further consideration of the case until Thursday, December 17.
The hearing was postponed because the court was unable to establish the status of defense lawyer Alexey Korvizhkin, who claimed that he had been deprived of his right to practice law on October 29, but couldn’t provide any supporting documents to the court.
Korvizhkin’s client, ex-policeman Igor Lyakhovets, then announced that he intends to refuse the services of a lawyer and represent himself in court.
Five former Moscow police officers stand accused in the Golunov case: Igor Lyakhovets and his former subordinates Roman Feofanov, Denis Konovalov, Maxim Umetbaev, and Akbar Sergaliev. They are facing charges of fabricating materials in a criminal case and illegal drug possession.
According to state investigators, Lyakhovets organized the crime — the prosecution maintains that he was the one who decided to plant the drugs on Golunov, in order to improve his department’s clearance rates.
Konovalov, who confessed to planting drugs on Ivan Golunov and testified against Lyakhovets, was placed under house arrest. The remaining suspects are being held in pre-trial detention. Umetbaev has pleaded partially guilty of abuse of office: he confessed to beating up Golunov while he was in police custody, but denied any involvement in planting the drugs.
During a preliminary hearing on October 28, state prosecutors sought to close the trial to both the media and the public. Ivan Golunov’s lawyer, Sergey Badamshin, insisted on an open-door trial. As a result, the Moscow City Court decided not to hold closed-door proceedings.