The court in Novocherkassk acquitted the Chechen contract sergeant Zainda Takaev in the case of the murder of his colleague, private Magomed Shahbanov from Dagestan. This is the first such court decision, Kommersant writes.
The jury unanimously found Takaev innocent, after which the judge released him from custody and granted him the right to rehabilitation. Takaev can demand moral and material compensation from law enforcement agencies for his arrest. The prosecution and representatives of the murdered Shahbanov filed an appeal: they believe that the jurors could have been pressured.
A criminal case of murder was opened against Takaev in June 2022. The reason was the death of Shahbanov under strange circumstances. According to the case materials, on June 6, 2022, in Pervomaisk, Luhansk region, Takaev, Shahbanov, two of their fellow soldiers, and two local girls grilled barbecue and drank beer in a gazebo near their house. After the picnic, two fellow soldiers left, Takaev left his machine gun, went to the toilet – and at that moment a bullet shot through Shahbanov’s head.
Takaev “immediately realized that the gazebo was being shot at from the neighboring bushes” and opened fire on it. He did not see the attackers, but “he managed to repel the attack.” After that, Takaev released the doctors and the military police.
Companions of the military told a different version. According to them, one of those who left left a pistol with Takaev. “Zaindy got up from the table, approached Magomed from behind, took out a pistol from the left pocket of his pants and shot him in the head,” the witness claimed.
This version was refuted from different sides: Takaev’s friend stated that that is why he did not leave the pistol, the forensic examination recognized the traces on the pistol grip as “contradictory”, the forensic expert considered that the shot was fired from a “close distance” and not from a pistol. However, the bullet that killed Shahbanov was not found. Takaev’s lawyers argued that the girls “couldn’t objectively assess the situation because of their young age, stress experienced and alcohol intoxication.”
The military police arrived at the scene of the murder and detained Takaev. Until his release, he was in the Rostov-on-Don pre-trial detention center. He faced up to 15 years in prison.