Capital punishment with a question mark: why the sentence of the murderer-pedophile Berezhny was compromised
The Moscow City Court on Friday sentenced Vitaly Berezhny, a resident of Tyumen, to life imprisonment. He was found guilty of murdering an 8-year-old girl, Nastya. The trial of Berezhny can be called not only scandalous, but also unique. The man was fully acquitted by the jury in Tyumen, but the prosecutor's office demanded that the verdict be canceled, citing the disclosure of the secrets of the deliberation room.
When this happened, the people's assessors were indignant and called everything a provocation by law enforcement officers. A new trial of the case took place in the Moscow City Court, and here the jury found Berezhny the killer.
Many Tyumen residents do not believe in his guilt. The retrial, some say, only made them more convinced that "not everything is clean" in this case, and the real killer of the little girl is walking free, posing a threat to their children.
About the features of the trial of Berezhny - in the material of the observer "MK".
In the summer of 2021, the body of 8-year-old Nastya was found in Tyumen, who was searched for almost a month and a half.
At first, the people from Tyuments were amazed that, with all the modern technologies and video cameras, the investigation could not find any traces of the missing child. And then the investigators reported the arrest of Berezhnoy. An interesting detail: information about this on the website of the regional IC appeared two hours after he was taken from home. During this time, it is impossible to interview a person, or to take DNA tests, or to carry out other investigative actions.
According to investigators, in search of free Wi-Fi, the girl entered the entrance of the neighboring house where Berezhnoy lived. He lured her into an apartment, raped her and brutally killed her, and then carried her body in a box to the street. It is clear that a normal person could not do such a thing, so Berezhnoy was presented as an unbalanced person who drinks and used drugs. But those who knew Vitaly insisted: he is completely adequate, he has a prosperous family, etc.
Tyumen was divided into two parts: some believed in Vitaly's involvement, others did not. And then the strangeness began.
Some of them are reflected in the appeal of Irina Berezhnoy's civil wife to the press complaints board. The woman reported that information was being disseminated through federal channels about Vitaly's supposedly already proven guilt, he was called nothing more than a "Tyumen beast" and even fabricated evidence. At a meeting of a colleague (of which the author of these lines is a member), Irina did not come alone, she was supported by Tyumen journalists. Here is part of her speech.
“The federal channel reported: “Our program had at its disposal a recording from a surveillance camera installed opposite the entrance to the house. It shows how Berezhnoy carries an empty box in his hands. But this video is not in the materials of the criminal case. He was never there.
After the broadcast was aired, Tyumen journalists investigated the hostel hall and the alleged shooting point from which the footage from the "exclusive video" was taken. No traces of the installation of the camera in the hall of the hostel were found. There was no video camera in the summer of 2021, when the search for the girl was going on, which is confirmed by police officers and volunteers.”
Her words were confirmed by local journalists. The Board's decision was significant. For example, it says that the current criminal procedure legislation allows the prosecution to receive unreasonable advantages in access to the media. The investigation can disseminate any information it wishes, and, on the contrary, take a non-disclosure agreement from lawyers. “This provision violates the principles of equality and competitiveness of the parties, creating legal conditions for the use of the media by the prosecution for the advance formation of public opinion in its favor. This imposes a professional and ethical obligation on journalists to be as critical as possible about the materials they receive from the investigating authorities (including on the initiative of the latter) for distribution in the media.”
The most scandalous story happened with the verdict of not guilty, which was canceled by the prosecutor's office. And this is what the board pointed out here (by the way, many well-known lawyers hold the same opinion): “In the case of the dissolution of the jury with reference to a violation of the secrecy of the deliberation room, but in the absence of actual information about such a violation, only with reference to media publications before the announcement of the verdict on the results of the jury voting, an extremely dangerous precedent is created when the media turn out to be a tool in the hands of a party interested in the fact that the jury verdict was not announced.
To do this, it is only necessary to throw into the public space information - real or fictitious - about the result of the jury voting. At the same time, the idea of considering high-profile cases in other regions is often promoted, although the right of a person “to have his case heard in that court and by the judge to whose jurisdiction it is assigned by law” is guaranteed by Article 47 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, and its arbitrary violations are unacceptable.”
Already when the case was transferred to Moscow, Berezhnoy wrote a letter to the president from behind bars (handed it over through a lawyer). In it, he said that he was allegedly tortured with electric current, that the results of the research were rigged to please the investigators (two examinations in Tyumen did not find his DNA, but an examination made in Moscow did). The most interesting thing about his letter is how he explains what happened to him. “Children have been disappearing in Tyumen for more than 25 years under similar circumstances, no one has been punished for a single crime.” Berezhnoy hints that the investigation should have already shown the results of the investigations of these cases, and he, as they say, fell under the arm.
Without questioning the verdict of the now Moscow jurors, I will draw attention to a few points. First, a precedent has been created in Russia that allows any acquittal to be overturned. Secondly, the investigation, with its ambiguous behavior (Berezhnoy was called guilty immediately after the arrest, then they “leaked” false information, used unacceptable methods of obtaining confessions, etc.) did not convince the local residents of the guilt of the accused. And this means that they will continue to think: the real killer is still at large.