Two Rape Suspects Acquitted In Ufa

Dear Readers:

When you’re on the True Crime beat, THE LAW is the only thing that matters. Just ask Inspector Javert!

Still on the “True Crime” beat, and still on the topic of (alleged) police brutality; but today moving much farther East — to the Bashkiria Republic of the Russian Federation.  You guessed it! – it’s a story I “covered” back in the day, the infamous Ufa Rape Case.  I had sworn not to write another word about this nastiness, but then I read a couple of days ago that 2 out of the 3 convicted rapists have been acquitted upon appeal. So, I reckon it’s my duty to “report” this to my readers.  Since I don’t want to be like those other people who report something when it’s hot, possibly destroying other peoples reputations, and then never report the retraction, or whatever.

Searching through my past posts – wow, I see that I “covered” this story quite a lot.  Something about it must have fascinated me, mostly the family dynamics, I think.  That’s where the real story is, but there is a lot we will never know and perhaps have no right to know.  I always thought it was super-sad that Gulnaz’s papa disowned her and wants nothing to do with her any more.  He must be like a Bashkir version of Inspector Javert – the law, ma’am, only the law, for drinking in the office I would jail my own daughter if I could…

When you’re on the True Crime beat, one must be prepared to issue retractions.

Anyhow, here are the links to my past pieces in chronological order:

1. Sexual Harassment Case Rocks Russia

2. Update on Ufa Rape Case

3. More Developments in the Ufa Rape Case

4. Update to the Update in the Ufa Rape Case

5. A 3-parter with MORE Updates!

The case made it all the way up to the Supreme Court of Bashkiria.

6. A Mug Shows His Mug!

7.  And Finally The Closure (or so I thought)

8. Bashkir Rape Dad Gets Promotion

The astonishing thing about today’s follow-up story is that a miracle happened:  Two of the convictions were overturned upon appeal.  I recall in my previous posts, educating my readers about Napoleonic Law, and how convictions are so rarely overturned in Russia.  With about the same frequency as one sees pigs para-sailing.  And yet it happened this time, and there you have it.  I will leave everybody to draw their own conclusions.

Here is the piece in question, and here is my translation of it, in full.  I don’t like the way this piece is written, it’s all over the place, and the story is not told in chronological order.  But I put a couple of sub-headline markers to help out.

Reporter Alexandra Balandina:  Vindicated By the Court

The court ruled anew on the case of the 23-year-old (female) police investigator from Ufa, who had accused her colleagues of rape.  According to the ruling on the appeal, two of the three policemen have been acquitted, since the (Appeals) court could find no evidence of their involvement in a crime.  The third ex-officer [lost his appeal and] will be heading for prison; however [even in his case] the court reduced his original sentence.  He will also still have to pay the victim half a million rubles.

Inside the tiny courtroom, everybody is wearing Covid masks.

The Supreme Court of Bashkiria totally vindicated two of the policemen who were previously convicted [by a lower court] of raping the (female) investigator.  This acquittal was published by the press service of the Republic’s court system.

According to the ruling of the judges, Salavat Galiev and Eduard Matveev were freed immediately at the end of the court session, since “there was no evidence of their guilt”.

The third figure in the case, Pavel Yaromchuk, saw his punishment reduced down to four years.  His guilt was sustained on two counts:  “Rape” and “Violent Conduct of a Sexual Nature”.

The press service, Bashinform.RF issued the following press release:

Left to Right: Yaromchuk, Matveev, Galiev

The conviction was set aside on appeal.  In the course of the court session, the defendants did not admit their guilt.  Pavel Yaromchuk was taken into custody in the courtroom.  The victim’s claims against him for compensation of moral harm, were partially approved, in the amount of half a million rubles.  Eduard Matveev and Salavat Galiev were acquitted of participation in the commission of a crime, and they now have the right to full rehabilitation.

As was explained by Aslam Khalikov, the attorney of one of the acquitted defendants, to reporters from Komsomolskaya Pravda of Ufa:  Salavat Galiev had nothing to do with what happened, as was obvious in the very first days of the (original) investigation:  “We always insisted on the total innocence of my client.  There was not one single trace of bio-materials [from his body]; and there was also no evidence of physical damage [to the vic]  that is typical of a rape.  She had other types of damage, but not characteristic specifically of rape.”  [yalensis:  Recall that the vic had accused Galiev of striking her with his fist, maybe that’s what the lawyer is talking about.]

The vic and her attorney are spotted in the courtroom.

Moreover, the Supreme Court of the Republic took into account the fact that Galiev had an alibi for the time of the crime; and that his alibi was confirmed.  Khalikov:  “There were also third parties present whose witness accounts were taken into account.  On the whole, there was not one single shred of evidence of my client’s guilt; and all of this was analyzed carefully by the Supreme Court of the Republic.”

Pavel Yaromchuk was also hoping to be acquitted, however, this did not happen, according to Rustam Ibragimov, who is the attorney for Eduard Matveev.  “Pavel was hoping until the end, that he would be acquitted, you could see that on his face.” [yalensis:  Unfortunately for Pavel, he left his DNA inside the vic.]

Yaromchuk’s attorney, Nail Bagautdinov, for his part, is not prepared to abandon the struggle for his client’s freedom.  “For us, the court’s decision was unexpected.  It’s hard to evaluate [why this happened], because they only published the resultative portion of the sentence.  But in any case we are determined to appeal it [to a higher level],” he told the Ufa Times.

According to Matveev’s attorney, the former (female) investigator [the plaintiff] was present at the hearing, however one could not see her reaction when the verdict was announced, thanks to the surgical mask on her face.

Irina Valieva, who is the Attorney of the plaintiff, Gulnaz Fatkhislamova, has already announced that she will appeal the appeal at the next step up:  “My client did not have amnesia or any memory loss.  This heinous crime was committed by all three of them, therefore it is immoral to excuse any of these men, who conducted themselves illegally towards my client.”

The Original Verdict

Even the original verdict, from December 2019 was deemed “too soft” by the vic and her attorney.  At that time, the policemen Eduard Matveev and Salavat Galiev had been sentenced to 7 years apiece; and Pavel Yaromchuk, to 6 years.  In addition, they had been fined 3 million rubles as compensation to the victim for her pain and suffering.

In happier times: The vic and her Papa.

Leaving the courtroom [at that time], Eduard Matveev (had) commented to the press:  “How do you think I feel about the verdict?  It wasn’t fair.”  After the verdict was pronounced, Yaromchuk’s wife dashed out of the courtroom in tears.

The plaintiff’s Attorney Irina Valieva initially expressed her appreciation to the judges for their sentence; however later she filed an appeal [trying to get tougher sentences for the perps].  “We are satisfied!”  Valieva announced to reporters from Vesti-Bashkortostan.  “Because this young girl stood against 17 lawyers and 3 defendants.  She stood for all those who remain silent and never tell what happened to them.  I consider that any punishment that the court dishes out — is good enough.”

The defendants themselves, along with their 9 attorneys, also filed appeals after the verdict was announced.  They sought to have their convictions overturned, on the grounds that no crime was committed; and also to reject the plaintiff’s claim for damages.

The prosecution, for its part, demanded that the sentences be tougher, and they also wanted the defendants to be deprived of their ranks and titles.  Until this past June 3, Galiev, Matveev, and Yaromchuk have all been under house arrest.

Recap

According to the investigators, on the night of October 30, 2018, the three high-ranking police officers held a party to celebrate the upcoming promotion of the senior member of this group, Eduard Matveev.  They invited their 23-year-old colleague who had only recently begun to work in this police station.  Later it was determined that the girl did not come alone to the office party, but brought a (female) friend.

In the words of the plaintiff:  After a couple of shots of alcohol, her senior colleagues literally went nuts.  They dragged her into the very small bathroom, ripped off her clothes, and took turns raping her.  As a result of this, a criminal case was launched, charging rape and “violence of a sexual nature”, committed by a group of persons.  The accused were fired from the Internal Affairs unit in November of 2018.  The plaintiff was also fired, on the grounds of imbibing alcohol during office hours.  The court has been hearing this case since July, 2019, and the defendants never did admit their guilt.

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