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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Coup Trial: Prosecutor Said No Case From Start

One day before the last defendant in the 18-month trial against the alleged leaders of the August 1991 coup attempt was to hear the verdict, the prosecutor said Wednesday he had warned from the start that he had no case.


General Vladimir Varennikov pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the charge that he committed high treason in an attempt to take power.


The tribunal of the Military Supreme Court said it will rule Thursday, but State Prosecutor Arkady Danilov has already asked the court to drop all charges.


On Wednesday, Danilov told a press conference that Varennikov, the only one of 12 alleged coup leaders to reject a parliament amnesty and insist on standing trial, had not broken any law, adding that there had not been any conspiracy in August 1991.


Danilov said he and other prosecutors twice wrote to then Public Prosecutor Valentin Stepankov, in early 1993, to warn him that the case against the coup leaders was weak.


They argued that solid proof was missing and that the investigators had undermined the case by breaching regulations and laws, according to Danilov.


Investigators barred lawyers from attending some interrogations and failed to provide interpreters to foreign witnesses, he added.


Stepankov took more than a year to investigate the case.


However, he greatly undermined his own hard work by publishing a book on his findings before the court case began.


Natalya Vishnyakova, a spokes-woman for the Public Prosecutor's Office, declined to make any comment on criticism by Danilov of the investigation.