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 Rostov court hears "secret witness" in case of Crimean Tatars accused of terrorism. PHOTOS

The North Caucasus Military District Court of Rostov (Russia) continues the trial of Ukrainian citizens, Crimean Tatars Ruslan Zeitullaiev, Ferat Seifullaiev, Rustem Vaitov, Yurii (Nuri) Primov, who are accused of setting up a cell of Hizb ut-Tahrir organisation, recognized as terrorist in Russia.

At the moment, the court is hearing a "secret witness", as reported by a Censor.NET correspondent attending the process.

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A paddy wagon used to take defendants to court

According to prosecutor Gennady Trukhanov, the witness's pseudonym is Alexander and he is in the same building, in another room. The communication with the court room is done through a voice link. The defendants and their lawyers required to disclose his identity prior to questioning, but the prosecutor opposed them, and the judge refused.

The questioning is accompanied by constant clicking sounds. Therefore, lawyer Emil Kurbedinov suggests that someone may be next to the witness in order to prompt him to say right words.

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"The witness is asked a question, then a click follows, and then the witness speaks. That is, there is no uninterrupted communication with the witness. Someone may be close to him and suggest answers to questions!" Kurbedinov says. During the questioning, the "secret witness" stated that he was "a simple Hizb member" and had been involved there by Zeitullaiev. And that Hizb ut-Tahrir was active in Crimea after the occupation of the peninsula by Russia. The witness also says that he turned himself in to the FSB on Jan. 21, 2015. And already on Jan. 23, the first three persons were detained in this case.

"The prosecutor asked questions that already contained answers, with the witness replying affirmatively. The lawyers exclaimed: "We protest! The witness can only answer "yes or no"," lawyer Sergey Legostov said.

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The accused Crimean Tatars behind Sergey Legostov's back

"I understand. The prosecutor probably chose this tactic because it is difficult to hear," judge Korsakov responds and appeals to the prosecutor. "But try to abide by the requirements of the procedural code."

The witness refused to answer many questions asked by the lawyers. They assume that the witness may not be real. If he is, then it looks like he is trying to escape punishment.

"Perhaps, it's his tactic that he has chosen for his own protection. Judging by what he is saying, he falls under criminally liability. If he voluntarily quit, he may be exempted from criminal liability," Vaitov's lawyer Oksana Zheleznyak told Censor.NET.

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Oksana Zheleznyak

The interrogation is underway. Four more witnesses are to be questioned today.
 
 
 
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