Russian Supreme Court upholds prison sentences for Far Eastern Guerilla gang members
MOSCOW, October 10 (RAPSI) – The Supreme Court of Russia has upheld the prison sentences for five defendants found guilty of widespread killings and robbery as part of the so-called Far Eastern Guerilla gang’s case, RAPSI correspondent reports from the courtroom.
In May, after a retrial, the Primorsky Krai Court in Vladivostok sentenced Alexander Kovtun and Vladimir Ilyutikov to 25 years in prison each, Alexey Nikitin was given 23.5 years in prison, Maksim Kirillov was sentenced to 21.5 years and Vadim Kovtun, who was not directly involved in murders, received 8 years behind bars. Moreover, they were ordered to pay victims about 3 million rubles ($47,300) on their civil claim.
The case was reconsidered by jurors, who delivered guilty verdict to the defendants.
The Far Eastern Guerillas case returned to public attention after the Supreme Court of Russia overturned acquittal of five men, who were previously found innocent of several murders and robbery.
In July 2016, after a retrial, jurors found evidence presented by prosecution not convincing and acquitted the defendants. The retrial was conducted with regard to the murder of four people, who were also robbed of valuables and drugs they had on them, in the Primorsky Krai.
On July 28 of the same year, defendants Alexey Nikitin and Vadim Kovtun were released in a courtroom while Alexander Kovtun, Vladimir Ilyutikov and Maksim Kirillov were kept in detention as they were to serve their time in relation to two other criminal cases.
On December 26, 2016, Russia’s Supreme Court reversed the acquittal.
The group gained notoriety after a series of assaults on civilians and law enforcement officers in 2010 that left six dead.
The Far Eastern Guerilla gang was tracked down in a flat in the city of Ussuriysk in June 2011 and surrounded by law enforcement officials.
Two policemen were injured in a shootout with the gang members, two of whom committed suicide, according to the forensic medical examination.
On February 4, 2014, five of the defendants were found guilty by the jury of having participated in a criminal gang, while one was acquitted. Four gang members were convicted of killing police officers, and five were convicted of the murder of civilians.