Source Pravda.Ru

Qatari court to announce its verdict on Russians

In the Qatari capital Doha on Wednesday, the court will meet in session to announce a verdict in the case of two Russians accused by Qatari authorities of assassinating Chechen separatist Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev.

This information was confirmed to RIA Novosti in the law firm Yegorov, Puginsky, Afanasyev and Partners, which represents the interests of the arrested Russians at the trial. A representative of the firm refused to comment on the upcoming session, saying that it is premature to say anything before it takes place.

One of the Chechen separatist leaders, Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, who lived in Qatar for the past three years, died when his car Toyota-Land Cruiser stuffed with explosives was blown up on February 13.

On the night of February 18-19, the Qatari special services arrested in Doha three Russian citizens who were in Qatar on a business assignment. They were charged with the premeditated killing of Yandarbiyev.

One of the detainees, Alexander Fetisov, first secretary of the Russian embassy in Qatar, had diplomatic immunity. He was released and on March 24 returned to Russia.

Moscow insists that the Russians citizens are innocent and demands their release. As was noted in a Russian Foreign Ministry statement, the Russian citizens "were staying in Qatar on legal grounds and were fulfilling, without violating any local legislation, the tasks connected with information analysis on countering international terrorism."

The Russian side stresses that the Russians were seized unlawfully with the use of forcible methods. Besides, in the course of the investigation, the detainees were subjected to physical coercion and psychological pressure.

The trial of the Russians opened in Doha on April 11. Since then, in the course of proceedings, which were all except the first one held in camera, witnesses were heard and the defence and prosecution spoke. The Qatari prosecutor's office is charging the Russians on nine counts.

The prosecution requested capital punishment for the Russians detained in Qatar, reported the press-service of the law firm Yegorov, Puginsky, Afanasysev and Partners.

Lawyers of the Russian citizens demanded for their defendants a verdict of not guilty on all charges. In their view, Qatari prosecutor's office failed to submit any evidence of the detainees' guilt.

The date of announcing the verdict - June 30 - was fixed by the Qatari court at its previous session on June 8.

On Monday, June 28, the Russian consul had his last meeting with the two Russians before the verdict. A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Doha told RIA Novosti that the general mood of the men is "normal", and as during previous encounters there were no negative phenomena or serious problems.

According to the embassy spokesman, the consul had a conversation with the detained Russians. There were no complains about the conditions of living. The cells fitted out with air conditioners maintain the normal temperature, which helps to bear the summer Arabian heat. Our compatriots are given three meals a day. Food is adequate, and no extra requests were expressed by the Russians in this respect, said the embassy official.

Qatari authorities allowed books, cigarettes and other daily necessities to be passed to the accused.

The Russian embassy ensured that the consul's meetings with the arrested men who have been in custody for more than four months should be held in the last month and a half on a weekly basis.

Earlier Qatari authorities reported that the court session in Doha, which is to announce the verdict in the case of the two Russians, would be held in public. But the embassy does not confirm this report.

According to the embassy, many journalists, including from Russia, have arrived for the final court session.

© &to=http://www.rian.ru' target=_blank>RIAN

Early reports by "PRAVDA.Ru":

&to=http://english.pravda.ru/accidents/ 21/96/382/12161_Yandarbiev.html' target=_blank>Qatar authorities arrested "murderers" of Yandarbiev

&to=http://' target=_blank>Russia to demand Yandarbiyev's extradition from Qatar

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