Voroshilov shooter will be tried again

On September 3, the Supreme Court has cancelled the jury's not-guilty verdict in the case of 'Stavropol avenger'.

Alexander Taran, a beekeeper from the South of Russia, was charged with the assassination of three people, including two policemen, and two attempted murders as a revenge for the death of his daughter and son.

Evidence collected by the investigators seemed conclusive: Kalashnikov with a self made silencer was found near his farm, his hair was on the gun, and the local locksmith confirmed that Taran asked him to make parts for the silencer.

Yet the jury announced the case not proven. Some media reported that the juries felt sympathetic as they themselves were tired of the abuse of power and felt that what the avenger did was right.

In 1994 a 20 year old daughter of the village beekeeper died in the local hospital of narcotic overdose. The father believed that the hospital's staff did not even try to save the girl.

In 2001 Taran's son was murdered in a night club. The killer was never found. In 2003 Erkenov, a local businessman whose nephew was suspected of the murder, was shot.

Later two policemen who investigated the death of the beekeeper's son were killed. The chief doctor of the hospital where Natasha Taran died was shot. He survived but remains disabled since then.

In 2005 four gun shots were made to the window of a road police officer who confiscated Taran's car.

Jury decide on the matter of fact, proven or not proven, and their verdict, generally speaking, is final. The law allows very limited grounds for the decision to be overruled: only when there was a serious miscarriage in the procedure. The Supreme Court cancelled the verdict because of 'questions to the juries', in particular, to one of them who did not disclose his criminal conviction.

Alexander Taran has been nicknamed the 'Voroshilov Shooter' after a character from a popular movie. In it an old man, despaired to find justice from the state, avenges his daughter raped by the golden youth, sons of local bosses. The main idea of the movie, that justice and law do not always go together, has found a warm response among people but will not be tolerated by the state.



September 4, 2009