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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yegorova Rejects Criticism of Her Court

Itar-TassOlga Yegorova
Responding to criticism from former judges and the press, Moscow City Court's chief judge, Olga Yegorova, said that she neither colluded with prosecutors nor had city judges fired for dissent or leniency.

"The judge's job is to issue a verdict. I have never interfered with their decisions," Yegorova said in an interview published Monday in Gazeta newspaper.

"Yes, there were some cases when I called the judge and asked about the way things were being done but never about the essence of the decision the judges took."

Former Moscow judges Alexander Melikov and Olga Kudeshkina have accused Yegorova of pushing for their ouster over what they said was a refusal to bow to pressure from prosecutors for harsher sentences.

Melikov, a former judge at the city's Dorogomilovsky court, was reported in the press as saying that he lost his job after Yegorova accused him of showing unfounded leniency in a verdict.

Kudeshkina, a former Moscow City Court judge, said she was fired after she refused a demand by Yegorova.

She said that she was asked to produce a guilty verdict in the case of Pavel Zaitsev, the Interior Ministry investigator who was looking into allegations of fraud at the Tri Kita furniture store.

The Supreme Qualification Collegiate of Judges fired Melikov last year and Kudeshkina in 2003.

Yegorova said that Melikov was fired because some of his verdicts contained "crude violations of the law," and not for acquitting more defendants than other judges.

She defended the Moscow City Court's record, saying that its acquittals rate was 30 percent last year.

Yegorova also said that Kudeshkina's accusation that the Moscow City Court colluded with the Prosecutor General's Office was "nonsense."

"We have working relations with the prosecutor's office," she said.

Yegorova said that judges and courts were not corrupt and that Russian judges were "the most honest and respectable people."

Yegorova was appointed to head the Moscow City Court in 1999 by then-President Boris Yeltsin over the objections of some senior city and federal judges. In her first year in office, 17 judges resigned from the court, the Independent Council of Legal Experts said in a report.