Russian court resumes hearings in “Far Eastern Guerilla gang” case
MOSCOW, September 11 (RAPSI, Lyudmila Klenko) – The Primorsky Krai Court in Vladivostok resumed review of the case so-called “Far Eastern Guerillas,” the court’s press-service told RAPSI on Monday.
The case returned to public attention after the Supreme Court overruled acquittal for five men who were previously found innocent of several murders and robbery.
In July 2016, after a retrial, jurors found evidence presented by prosecution not convincing and acquitted the defendants. The retrial was conducted with regard to the murder of four people, who were also robbed of valuables and drugs they had on them, in the Primorsky Krai.
On July 28 of the same year, defendants Alexey Nikitin and Vadim Kovtun were released in the courtroom while Alexander Kovtun, Vladimir Ilyutikov and Maksim Kirillov were kept in detention as they were to serve their time in relation to two other criminal cases.
On December 26, Russia’s Supreme Court overruled the acquittal.
The Supreme Court’s board of judges for criminal cases repealed the Primorsky Krai Court’s ruling after reviewing appeals filed by prosecutors and relatives of victims in this case. Several violations of litigation process were found: part of the jury did not disclose relevant information about themselves, while the lower court inappropriately dismissed some relevant evidence. Evidence included admittance of guilt by defendants made during interrogation conducted with violations.
The group gained notoriety after a series of assaults on civilians and law enforcement officers in 2010 left six dead.
The “Far Eastern Guerilla” gang was tracked down in a flat in the city of Ussuriysk in June 2011, and surrounded by law enforcement officials.
Two policemen were injured in a shootout with the gang members, two of whom committed suicide, according to the forensic medical examination.
On February 4, 2014, five of the defendants were found guilty by the jury of having participated in a criminal gang, while one was acquitted. Four gang members were convicted of killing police officers, and five were convicted of the murder of civilians.