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Trial of murder of Russian citizens in Abkhazia kicks off in Sukhum

The Supreme Court of Abkhazia has held the first hearing of the criminal case concerning the murder of Russian citizens Sergey Klemantovich and Oxana Skarednaya.

The hearing took place in Sukhum on Mar 24 and was attended by lawyers from Moscow’s Lawyers Chamber, who are supposed to represent the aggrieved party, Natalia Klemantovich.

The prosecution was represented by Deputy Head of the Criminal Court Department of Abkhazia’s Prosecutor General’s Office Vyacheslav Karaskua and his employees Lia Adleyba and Nadina Mukba. Klemantovich’s lawyers asked for Mukba’s recusal. The request was satisfied as Mukba was a relative of Rafid Mukba, the chief accountant of Valentin Klemantovich’s EL Petroleum Abkhazia LLC.

Since the other aggrieved party, the mother of Oxana Skarednaya, was not present, the hearing was put off till Apr 2.

Businessman Valentin Klemantovich and his assistant Oxana Skarednaya disappeared in Sukhum on Sept 10 2012. On Oct 12 2013 their bodies were found in a well in the village of Adzubzha, Ochamchira district.

In Oct 2014, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Abkhazia laid charges against four suspects in the case – Ramin Khmail, Akhre Gopia, Jumbet Bigvava and Aslan Tsvizhba.

Abkhazian MP Nodik Kvitsinia is suspected to having ordered the murder. On Nov 12 2013, the Abkhazia Parliament cancelled Kvitsinia’s parliamentary immunity but on Dec 7 2013 it voted against his arrest. In Dec 2014, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Abkhazia sent Kvitsinia’s case to the Supreme Court.

If found guilty, the suspects may face life in jail.

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