A court in Moscow has found Sergey Furgal, the former governor of Russia’s Khabarovsk region, and three more individuals guilty of contract murder and attempt on life.
The jury had mercy on only one of the accused, Marat Kadyrov, who was only charged on one account. The rest, including Furgal, were found guilty and undeserving of mercy.
They were accused of committing two contract murders of businessmen and an attempt on life in the early 2000s. The accused pleaded not guilty and asked the jury to acquit them of charges during their final plea.
Furgal mentioned that the defence had petitioned to interview 100 witnesses, while only two were actually allowed to speak in court. He also noted that the investigators “hid” all the evidence.
“Being in a position elected by the people, I could probably say: dear jurors, tens of thousands of people have vouched for me, many people voted for me. I’m not saying that! Do not believe me or the prosecutors, but rather believe the facts,” he addressed the jury before the verdict.
Sergey Furgal won the 2018 gubernatorial election in the Khabarovsk region. He was detained in July 2020 and accused of setting up murders of businessmen. He stated numerous times that there was no evidence proving his guilt, and that the investigation was only based upon statements of one person. He was additionally charged with embezzlement and setting up a crime group in October 2021.
Mass rallies in support of Furgal took place in Khabarovsk in 2020 and 2021. The demonstrants, who were backed by people in other cities of Russia, demanded the case be investigated in Khabarovsk, and called on the acting regional and federal authorities to resign. Many activists were fined or arrested afterwards.