MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow City Court Monday sentenced Orkhan Zeinalov from Azerbaijan to 17 years in prison for murder, after which mass riots broke out at an outdoor market in the Russian capital’s south.
In October of last year, Zeinalov, who was drunk, began fighting with Yegor Shcherbakov and stabbed him in the back and chest with a knife, according to investigators.
Zeinalov was found guilty after a CCTV camera near the entrance to a residential building captured him committing the act, as well as a telephone call that was intercepted when he told relatives he was wanted for murder and was planning on changing his appearance and fleeing to Azerbaijan.
The defendant told investigators that he acted in self-defense but later he completely denied his involvement in the incident.
Defense lawyers insisted that Zeinalov was not at the crime scene and another man committed the crime, and claimed the late Shcherbakov provoked the conflict.
The judge rejected the claims saying that Zeinalov killed Shcherbakov out of pure “hooliganism.”
Zeinalov faced life in prison for the crime, while the prosecutor asked for an 18-year jail sentence and a five million ruble ($141, 385) fine. In addition to the 17-year sentence handed down, the judge ordered Zeinalov to pay a three million ruble ($84, 831) fine to the victim’s father.
Lawyer for the defense Abasmirza Abdullayev said his client will appeal the verdict.
“My client does not recognize his guilt, which is why we will advise him to appeal the verdict,” Abdullayev told RIA Novosti, adding that “the real killer” should pay the fine.
The murder case caused public outcry, with locals demanding the closing of Biryulyovo’s Pokrovsky vegetable warehouse, where many migrant laborers work. Almost 400 people were detained following the clashes. Local residents have called on the authorities to settle the migrant issue in Moscow.
Moscow’s authorities later closed the vegetable warehouse. A criminal case was opened against its owner and security chief into illegal immigration.