DUSHANBE, August 10, Asia-Plus – Russia’ Supreme Court has rejected an appeal of the St. Petersburg prosecutor’s office and complaint of parents of the killed Tajik girl Khursheda Sultonova against verdict of the St. Petersburg City Court in the case of murder of Khursheda Sultonova.

Russian website Fontanka.ru reports the Russian Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the verdict that is actually a sentence of acquittal in the case of murder of a nine-year-old Tajikistani girl Khursheda Sultonova, who killed in St. Petersburg in February 2004. Thus the appeals of the sides that requested to “repeal the verdict and hold a new trial” have been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

            “I am glad that the Supreme Court did no make a political decision and did not discredit the verdict passed by the St. Petersburg jury,” said Mr. Natella Ponomaryova, a lawyer representing the Sultonov family, “The prosecutor’s office has to establish the person, who committed this crime”

            Fontanka.ru quoted Ms. Ponomaryova as saying that she sympathizes with the Sultonov family but as lawyer she supports the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the St. Petersburg jury’s verdict.  “Passing the verdict of “not guilty” the jury split the Petersburg public into supporters and opponents of the jury in the country’s judicial system,” Fontanka.ru reports.   

We will recall that on March 30 this year, the St. Petersburg City Court sentenced seven teenagers to prison sentences ranging between 1 1/2 years and 5 1/2 years for the murder of Khursheda Sultonova.  On March 22, a St. Petersburg jury found the defendants guilty of “hooliganism” and cleared another defendant of murder.  The ruling shocked the victim’s family and sparked an outcry among human rights campaigners.

Khursheda Sultonova was killed on February 9, 2004 as she was walking with her father and 11-year-old cousin in a St. Petersburg street.  A group of about 12 young men attacked them with baseball bats, chains, and knives, and stabbed the girl to death.