Today I see the news that they have sentenced a policeman who murdered the journalist Magomed Yevloyev to two years in jail for the killing. I hate to sound like a broken record, but isn’t a two year sentence for blowing a guy’s head off really messed up?
Over the past few years, there have been scores of murders of government opponents, but Yevloyev’s was probably one of the most outrageous. No, he didn’t get poisoned by polonium in a London hotel, or get the assassin’s two-tap in a Moscow hallway or sidewalk. He didn’t get thrown out an apartment window to look like a suicide (from the wrong floor of his building, like Safronov), or picked up in a van and then dumped on a roadside (like Estemirova). Unlike Aushev, he didn’t get his car shot up with 60 rounds of bullets.
Yevloyev, who ran the website Ingushetia.ru, apparently had just arrived on a plane from Moscow to the Magas regional airport on August 31, 2008 when he was arrested by the police. By coincidence, the journalist shared the flight with Ingush president, Murat Zyazikov. According to Kommersant’s coverage of what happened next, things quickly got ugly:
Zyazikov, who was the first to descend, steppedinto one of the cars waiting for him near the airstairs. “In a fewminutes after the departure of president’s motorcade, another cavalcadeof armored cars drove up to the plane – two UAZcars and four Volgas. Armed to-the-teeth policemen poured out of thecars. Interior Minister Musa Medov was among them. Having seen MagomedEvloev, the policemen went for him to drag into the UAZ,” Khazbiev said.
It was the action-thriller then. Relatives and friends of Evloev rushedto rescue him, breaking glass doors and pushing away airport guards, tono avail though. The police fired down a few bursts and escaped withEvloev by emergency route.
Yevloyev’s friends would later find his body, with one fatal gunshot wound to the head. The police would claim that he struggled with them and pulled a gun, resulting in an accidental shooting. They did not give an explanation as to why they decided to just ditch the body.
This was a story that even the lawyer Stanislav Markelov would write about for this blog, before he too died another quotidian premature death in Russia.
But for Ibragim Yevloyev, the apparent trigger man who coincidentally shared the same surname as his victim, just two years for involuntary manslaughter. The victim’s lawyer Musa Pliyev told Echo Moskvy, “This is a peculiar farce and we can say that no-one has been punished,neither the masterminds nor the perpetrators.“
If this isn’t what you might call the legal nihilism of a criminal state, I don’t know what we’re waiting for.