2008/11/21 "Zindan Case Will Be Reconsidered"
  • Press Release No. 128/1129
  • November 21, 2008

On November 20, at the request of a deceased soldier's mother, the Mother's Right Foundation submitted a case to the North Caucasus Military Court (in Rostov-on-Don): we achieved the repeal of the illegal sentence in the case of the death of Alexey Lyamin (b. 1986) from the Voronezh Region passed by the Grozny Garrison Military Court.  The soldier was a contractor and served in military unit 23132 in Chechnya. Alexey Lyamin died on June 21, 2007. At first, Nina Ivanovna Lyamina was told that her son ‘had committed suicide', but then the investigation found out that the accident had been provoked by the criminal acts of Aslan Mashenkulov, who on June 17, 2008 was found guilty of abuse of authority leading to grave consequences (article 286, section 3, paragraph "c"). Besides, he was charged with theft of money and exceeding his authority in relation to Krentik, another serviceman of the same unit. He received a cumulative sentence of 4 years' imprisonment in colony of general regime.  

Besides this, within the frame of the case it was mentioned that Mashenkulov had been abusing his authority by putting his subordinates into the so called zindan (a special pit used to keep prisoners or hostages) and extorting money for their ‘discharge'. For some obscure reasons, the investigative body refused to bring the case to court. Also, the court of first instance examined the claim of compensation for moral damage filed by the deceased soldier's mother against military unit 23132 and satisfied the claim in part (200,000 roubles) refusing the other part of the claim. On behalf of the deceased serviceman's mother, the Mother's Right Foundation (We regret that we did not participate in the first instance procedure.) appealed this sentence.

The interests of the dead soldier's mother were represented by the Mother's Right Foundation lawyer, Julia Lebedeva. She expounded the Foundation's position, which is as follows: ‘The court has misinterpreted the criminal law in defining the defendant's punishment, and as a result, the punishment is too light; in making its decision on Lyamina's civil action against the military unit, the court has taken into consideration the defendant's ‘tough financial position' (Representatives of military unit 23132 submitted no documents proving the fact; besides, the money claimed from the military unit comes from the Russian State Treasury. The Court's allegation that the defendant's financial position should be taken into consideration was illegal. The court has such a right only in cases when harm has been done by a physical person, not a juridical one, and the defendant, military unit 23132, is a juridical person), but not the sufferings of the mother, whose health worsened after her son's death (in April Nina Ivanovna underwent a serious operation)".

On having listened to the Foundation's appeal, the panel of judges consisting of S.V. Zhidkova, I.A. Korchagina, and I.A. Titova pronounced the decision annulling the sentence passed by the Grozny Garrison Military Court and remanded the case for reconsideration to the court of first instance.

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