2009/01/11 "Second Trial of Sasha Khmylnin’s Death Case"
  • Press Release No. 01/1144
  • 11/01/2009

On January 12, the North Caucasus District Military Court (Rostov-on-Don) identifies the jurisdiction of Sasha Khmylnin's death case. The first trial of Sasha Khmylnin's death case took place in the Nalchik Garrison Military Court. It started in 2007 and lasted a year (till March 2008). Elena Valentinovna Khmylnina, mother of the deceased, participated in the trial from the beginning up to the end. The Mother's Right Foundation helped Elena Valentinovna as much as possible: we received the conclusion of an independent medicolegal expert and that of the Independent Psychiatric Association experts, our lawyers drew up letters of complaint and applications, etc.

For us, the Nalchik trial is an illustration of how dead soldiers' mothers are having a rough time, when the investigation ignores a victim as an active figure and is carried out in a perfunctory manner. The first trial ended with the judge's untimely retirement on pension and now, when the jurisdiction of the case has been determined, the case will be tried in another court. 

On December 21, 2004, Alexander Khmylnin (b. 1986) came to the Army as a volunteer. (Sasha interrupted his studies at the Yaroslavl State Agricultural Academy to join the Army.) After the training camp in the Vladimir Region, he continued his service in Ingushetia where he signed a contract.  He served as a cook (he got this qualification before the Army) from winter 2006 up to his death. He was a sergeant by then. On January 22, 2007, Sasha died.

His mother was informed that he had hanged himself. The results of the administrative investigation, signed by the deputy commanding officer of military unit No. 29483, Avdeyev, shocked her: the military officials came to the conclusion that Sasha had committed suicide because of his life problems - ‘two (!) underage (!) girls pregnant from him'. And sure, Elena Valentinovna did not believe that nonsense. (Now, she would be happy to have grandchildren, but alas...) Actually, Sasha had a girlfriend named Rita. His younger brother, Zhenia, introduced her to Sasha when he was in the Army and they communicated by phone - they exchanged SMS messages. They got acquainted when Sasha was on holiday, one month before his death. To prove ‘their' version, military officials used any means. Elena Valentinovna tells that Major Ivan Borisovich Lavrentiev, psychologist of military unit No. 29483, together with a military enlistment office representative accompanied the ‘cargo 200' and then, after the funeral, sent the underage Rita to a gynecologist secretly from her mother. And though Rita's ultrasonic test results showed that she was not pregnant and never had been, the military officials insisted on their version, perhaps mechanically. 

According to Elena Valentinovna's story, after the burial ceremony, Lavrentiev brought the Report confirming that the investigation was completed on January 30, 2007 (1 week after Sasha's death!) for her to sign. She signed the report and wrote in addition, ‘I don't agree with the results of the preliminary investigation. My son, Alexander, was a believer and would not have committed suicide.' For some mysterious reasons, this document disappeared and was replaced by the other one - the Investigation Record of February 28, 2007, which read: "The victim, E. V. Hhmylnina, submitted the following request, ‘I am not willing to see the case materials, because I believe the investigators."' When the mother of the deceased was looking through the materials in court, she saw ‘her' signature, which was not hers. On February 28, she was in hospital and no investigators visited her.

The forged Report was signed by the case investigator, A. V. Shuldyakov. Shuldyakov was summoned to court and during the session, the mother of the deceased asked him about who had signed the document on her behalf. He mumbled modestly, ‘Shuldyakov...' And fell silent.

By the trial (the investigator had not informed the mother of the deceased about the completion of the investigation proceedings; he also had not acquainted her with the case materials), the investigators invented a new version of the case, according to which two sergeants of military unit No. 29483, Pavel Zhilov and Roman Prokhorov, used violence towards four of their fellow servicemen, with Khmylnin among them. After the act of violence, Sasha Khmylnin supposedly ‘hanged himself'. But the mother of the deceased does not believe this. First, she thinks that during the legal proceedings which lasted a year, the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence of Zhilov and Prokhorov's guilt. The evidence of the witnesses is dubious. Three boys alive have refused to bring accusations and act only as witnesses whose evidence sounds like a memorized text full of discrepancies.

Second, Sasha told that he and Prokhorov were friends, and his mother does not believe that one of her son's friends would have beaten him. ‘My son was a believer and would not have committed suicide even if he was beaten. I think that during his service in the Army - he was a contract junior sergeant - Sasha endured anything. He would not have hanged himself because of beating.' Elena Valentinovna thinks that her son was murdered.

A.R. Galimov, M.D., Director of the Forensic Medicine Consulting (Independent Non-Commercial Organization), looked through the medicolegal report  and wrote the following conclusion, ‘I think the version, according to which A.V. Khmylnin got cranio-cerebral trauma, lost consciousness and was hanged by another person (persons), looks more convincing.'

The interests of the dead soldier's mother are protected by the Mother's Right Foundation lawyer, Nadezhda Kuzina. Tomorrow's court session starts at 10:00. Within the frame of the trial of the case jurisdiction, we are going to submit an application for new legal proceedings (the trial will start over, according to the Criminal Procedure Code) to be held in Rostov-on-Don or in the Stavropol Region.

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