24 Dec 2019 13:52

Court extends historian Sokolov's arrest till early April

MOSCOW. Dec 24 (Interfax) - The Moscow Basmanny District Court has extended the arrest of historian Oleg Sokolov, who is charged with murdering a postgraduate student of St. Petersburg State University, until early April.

"The investigator's request is granted, and Sokolov's custody is extended until April 9, 2020," Judge Valentina Levashova said.

The court met in the absence of the defendant, who is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at a specialized medical institution.

Investigators are planning to complete forensic examinations, including biological and fingerprint tests, as well as the examination of the victim's body, during the period of extended arrest. They are also due to question the remaining witnesses before announcing the end of the inquiry.

Sokolov's lawyer Alexei Pochuyev asked the court to put the historian under house arrest, to which parents of the defendant had agreed. He told the court that Sokolov's parents are disabled and need to be looked after.

The lawyer presented references from Sokolov's employer, who described him as "a talented lecturer, whose lectures were very popular with students."

The aggrieved party backed the extended arrest but asked the court to consider the motion in their absence.

The former associate professor is charged with murdering Anastasia Yeshchenko, a 24-year-old postgraduate student of St. Petersburg State University and his girlfriend. Sokolov pleaded guilty. According to investigators, Yeshchenko was shot and killed with a small-caliber sawed-off gun in the early hours of November 8. Sokolov dismembered the body and discarded some of the body parts in the Moika River.

The Oktyabrsky District Court put Sokolov under arrest on November 11.

Pochuyev said earlier that the active phase of the investigative process and the collection of evidence in St. Petersburg had come to an end.

The defendant is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at a specialized medical institution in Moscow.