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Verdict Postponed In Trial Over Russian Soccer Fan's Death

Soccer fans and ultranationalists at a rally in Moscow to protest the death of Spartak Moscow fan Yegor Sviridov last December.

Soccer fans and ultranationalists at a rally in Moscow to protest the death of Spartak Moscow fan Yegor Sviridov last December.

MOSCOW -- Six men on trial in connection with the high-profile killing of a soccer fan in Moscow last year are to learn the jury's verdict on October 20, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Russian soccer fan Yegor Sviridov was shot dead on Moscow's Kronshtadt Boulevard on December 6, 2010 during clashes between fans of the Spartak Moscow soccer club and a group of men from the North Caucasus.

The jury's announcement of the verdict had been scheduled for October 19, but was postponed after the defendants' lawyers asked for more time to study the questions the judge will ask the jury regarding the case.

It was reported earlier that the judge will put 29 questions to the jury before they announce their verdict. The most important question will be whether Sviridov's killing was a premeditated murder.

One of the six on trial, Aslan Cherkesov, is charged with murder; his five co-defendants are charged with lesser crimes including hooliganism.

All pleaded not guilty. The defendants' lawyers say their clients had no intention of killing anyone, but only wanted to end the fighting.

Dmitry Pankov, the lawyer representing the main defendant, Aslan Cherkesov, told RFE/RL on October 18 that his client had to use a traumatic pistol to defend himself as his group was attacked and was greatly outnumbered by Spartak fans.

Traumatic guns, which fire pellets or rubber bullets, are regarded as nonlethal, but have been linked to a number of deaths in recent years.

Pankov said one of the witnesses testified that the fighting continued for 10-12 minutes before Cherkesov opened fire.

"Then, after the gunshots, just in one minute the clashes stopped," Pankov said. "The question is why the witness did not call the police at once, but was watching the clash. The answer is, she was quite sure who was going to win," he said, hinting the witness's sympathies were with Sviridov's group of fans.

The defendants' lawyers repeated that the six are not guilty and had to defend themselves after "they were provoked by Sviridov's group."

The case made headlines after hundreds of Sviridov's supporters organized a public protest in December against the suspects' release on bail. Some ultranationalist groups joined the protest, which escalated into violence.

Read more in Russian here