The case of 19-year-old Nikita Zhuravel, who was arrested for an anti-Muslim rally near a mosque in Volgograd, has gained a large-scale resonance. In Grozny, this became the reason for a protest rally, which, according to the organizers, brought together about two tens of thousands of people who declared their readiness to “give up their lives for religion.” Earlier, the investigation of the action to burn the Koran was transferred to the Chechen security forces. And on Tuesday, Republican officials said that Mr. Zhuravel would be tried in Chechnya, “here he will serve his sentence, because he encroached on the feelings of Muslim believers.” Meanwhile, the suspect’s lawyer Alexander Serebrennikov told Kommersant that he had not seen the decision to transfer the case to the investigating authorities of another region, and called the information about the transfer of the case to the Chechen court rumors.
On Tuesday, Chechnya’s minister for national policy, foreign relations, press and information, Akhmed Dudayev, said that the trial of Nikita Zhuravel, who was detained earlier for burning the Koran near a mosque in Volgograd, will be held in Chechnya. “The case of this provocateur, an enemy of all religions and confessions, was transferred to our region at the initiative of the federal leadership,” TASS reports the words of the official. “He will be tried here, he will serve his sentence, because he encroached on the feelings of Muslim believers. With us here, I think he will find his punishment within the law.”
A native of Sevastopol, Nikita Zhuravel, was detained on Saturday by employees of the Investigative Committee of Russia together with representatives of the regional departments of the FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. A student of the Volgograd Social and Pedagogical University is suspected of burning the Koran near the Central Cathedral Mosque No. 112 of the Mahalla on 22 Povorinskaya Street. controlled by the TsIPSO of the Armed Forces of Ukraine”. As Nikita Zhuravel later reported (the video was published by the Center for Public Relations of the FSB of Russia), the crime was committed on May 4. The case was opened under the article on public actions expressing clear disrespect for society and committed in order to offend the religious feelings of believers (part 2 of article 148 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
During interrogation, according to investigators, the suspect Zhuravel said that he had committed an action commissioned by foreign special services for 10,000 rubles. He then allegedly handed over the video to an officer of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).
The young man also confessed to being involved in filming Russian military installations and transmitting data to the SBU. On May 22, the court placed the suspect in custody for two months. On behalf of the head of the ICR, Alexander Bastrykin, the case was transferred to the Chechen Investigative Committee for investigation. “The reason for the decision was a number of grounds, in particular, numerous appeals from residents of the Chechen Republic with a request to recognize them as victims,” the department specified.
In Grozny, meanwhile, a protest rally organized by the regional Public Chamber took place on Tuesday. The audience, RIA Novosti reports, held posters “Get your hands off the Koran”, “Do not touch the Holy Scripture”, “We are ready to give our lives for our religion.” “This person will be tried here,” Chingiz Akhmadov, director of the Grozny ChGTRK, said. “And, most likely, he will serve his sentence on the territory of the Chechen Republic. This is a huge gesture of favor, respect for the religion of Islam, and for the Chechen people, and for the head of the republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. This is a great event in the socio-political life of Russia – a precedent for the transfer of such a person to our region. He will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Earlier, we note that the Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation Konstantin Chuichenko, commenting on the situation, noted that he considers it right after the verdict to send the convict to serve his sentence in a region with a predominantly Muslim population.
The human rights commissioner in Chechnya, Mansur Soltaev, told Kommersant that Nikita Zhuravel should be charged with treason (Article 275 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). “Nationalists who are trying to drive a wedge between confessions in our country – Muslims, Christians and others, know that Muslims cherish the Koran. The secret services of Ukraine know that the Muslims of Russia have declared a jihad against Satanism, which is carried by the collective West,” Mr. Soltaev said.
In accordance with Part 1 of Art. 152 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation, the preliminary investigation is carried out at the crime scene, Nikolai Titov, a lawyer and co-founder of the atLegal law firm, recalled in an interview with Kommersant: “In this case, it should be carried out in Volgograd.”
However, the rule also includes exceptions. “So in part 4.1. of this article, the place of preliminary investigation is determined by the chairman of the Investigative Committee, if the crime was committed abroad by a foreign citizen and infringes on the interests of Russia,” Mr. Titov continued. specified part of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation, but only in the part of the criminal case initiated against these employees of the special services. “There were no other grounds for transferring the criminal case to another region, as far as one can judge from media reports,” the lawyer concluded.
At the same time, according to part 1 of Art. 73 of the Penal Code of the Russian Federation, serving a sentence of deprivation of liberty is carried out in correctional institutions at the place of residence of the convicted person or at the place of his conviction. Therefore, if Mr. Zhuravel is judged by a Chechen court, then he will serve his sentence in a prison on the territory of the republic.
Nikita Zhuravel’s lawyer Alexander Serebrennikov, in an interview with Kommersant, also called the transfer of the investigation to the Chechen security forces unlawful. He did not see the decision to transfer the case to the investigating authorities of the republic, the lawyer specified. Mr. Serebrennikov stressed that it was too early to talk about court proceedings, since the investigation had not been completed. He called the information about the transfer of the case to the Chechen court rumors. The lawyer added that the decision to appeal the transfer of his client’s case to the investigating authorities of another region had not yet been discussed. The defendant will not challenge the measure of restraint.