Defence Programme for Convicted Criminals
A military court in Rostov on the Don today sentenced Captain Ulman and three of his former subordinates to prison terms. Only one of the four men, Alexei Perelevsky, was in court to hear the verdict. Ulman and the other two vanished a few months ago. They had been under a signed undertaking not to abscond, despite the charges which involved the killing in cold blood of six Chechens in January 2001.
Edward Ulman is now on the run from a 14-year sentence.
Russian human rights defenders and journalists told the Internet publication www.grani.ru that they saw the case as political, and believed that Ulman had been helped to escape by the Security Services.
Yulia Latynina, journalist:
“From the moment that Ulman bolted, it was obvious that there was going to be a guilty verdict. And that hed been warned of that earlier. The sentence was supposed to appease both the wolves and the lambs, showing Chechnya that there is justice in Russia, while satisfying Russian “patriots”.
Grigory Shvedow,, Chief Editor of the website Caucasian Knot, also sees a political nuance to the case and believes the enforcement agencies to have been involved in helping the men escape.
He links this case with that of Yury Budanov who as already reported here has “disappeared” while serving a sentence for murdering an 18-year-old Chechen woman.
Alexander Verkhovsky, of the SOVA Centre believes there to be a political nature to the case but says that it is not clear who is involved. He points out that the guilty verdict is something, although in fact the men never denied having carried out the killings. He points out that in all these court proceedings nobody has ever suggested trying those who gave the criminal order to kill innocent civilians.
Based on material from www.grani.ru