Former juror admits obstructing justice in Chechen War colonel murder case
MOSCOW, March 10 (RAPSI) – Former juror Vitaly Pronin has admitted to obstructing justice in the murder of retired Colonel Yury Budanov, RAPSI reports Tuesday from the Preobrazhensky District Court in Moscow.
Prosecutors claim that attorney Murad Musayev promised to pay 6 million rubles (about $100,000 at the current exchange rate) to jurors Pronin and Diana Lomonosova and had given them 100,000 rubles ($1,650) for expenses and a telephone for secret communications. The two jurors allegedly provided false information to their colleagues, distorting the facts to convince them to acquit Budanov’s murderer, warning them about his vengeful friends and urging them to think about their safety and the safety of their families.
Pronin has pleaded guilty but is refusing to testify. Lomonosova has denied the charges.
The charges brought against Musayev have been withdrawn due to the expiry of the statute of limitations.
According to investigators, Musayev allegedly convinced Pronin to vote for acquitting his client and to try to talk the other jurors into following suit. Investigators believe that Pronin coordinated his actions with Lomonosova.
Prosecutors said in the letter of indictment that Musayev “used appeals, persuasion and threats and also attempted to bribe” the jurors. The lawyer also allegedly made “biased and false comments about the prosecution’s arguments” and provided “distorted and false information” to the jurors. As a result, the jury was dismissed.
Musayev represented Yusup Temerkhanov, who was convicted in 2013 to 15 years in prison for murdering Budanov.
Colonel Yury Budanov was convicted of war crimes in Chechnya in July 2003. A military court found him guilty of abuse of power in connection with the kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Chechen Elza Kungayeva. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and deprived of his rank, medals and the chance to hold official positions for three years after release.
In January 2009, Budanov was released on parole. In June 2011, he was shot dead as he walked out of a notary office in Moscow.
Investigators claimed that Temerkhanov planned the murder after his father had been killed in Chechnya in 2000.