Three men go on Russian trial for Chechen rival murder

Three men charged with the murder of a prominent foe of Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader Kadyrov went on trial and protested their innocence.

Three men go on Russian trial for Chechen rival murder

 

Three men charged with the murder of a prominent foe of Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov went on trial on Monday and protested their innocence.

Ruslan Yamadayev, a member of Russia's parliament, was killed in his car on a Moscow street in September 2008, months before his brother, Sulim Yamadayev, was murdered in Dubai.

The defendants are alleged hit-men, accused of setting up and carrying out the evening rush-hour killing, while investigators have not named a suspected mastermind.

A surviving brother, Isa Yamadayev, has told Russian media he blames Kadyrov.

One of the most populous regions in the mainly Muslim north Caucasus, Chechnya declared independency after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 but was attacked by Russian forces in two wars since the mid-1990s.

Analysts said the death of Sulim Yamadayev, a top commander in Chechnya and a former Kadyrov ally, removed one of the last powerful opponents of Kadyrov's increasing control over the region.

Rights groups accuse forces controlled by Kadyrov of torture and abductions.

Human rights groups have also repeatedly accused the authorities of serious abuses including house burning, extra-judicial killings, torture and illegal punishment.

In 2008, high-level Chechen officials, including President Ramzan Kadyrov, made public statements stating that the families of insurgents should expect to be punished unless they convinced their relatives to surrender.

Ruslan Yamadayev's suspected killer Aslanbek Dadayev and his two suspected accomplices, Elimpasha Khatsuyev and Timur Isayev, were charged two years ago and arrested in April 2009. They face life in prison if found guilty.

Clad in black and sitting in a glass box in court, the three defendants giggled and mimicked the guards as the charges were read out to them -- then swiftly denied them.

Isa Yamadayev screamed, "I am absolutely certain!" when asked by reporters if the defendants had killed his brother. He was later led out of court by heavily-armed guards in balaclavas who have protected him since he survived an attempt on his life last year that he has also blamed on Kadyrov.

Kadyrov has denied the claims he was behind the killings of Isa Yamadayev's brothers, dismissing them as attempts to blacken his reputation.

A Dubai court in April sentenced two men to life in prison after convicting them of involvement in Sulim Yamadayev's killing. Dubai police accused a close adviser to Kadyrov, Adam Delimkhanov, of masterminding the killing, which he denied.

Kadyrov, like his father, was a fighter who fought against Russian forces in the first Chechen war. But he switched sides shortly after his father made a deal with Putin.

In April Austrian investigators said they believed Kadyrov ordered the kidnapping of a Chechen exile in Vienna that went awry last year and ended in the man's killing. Kadyrov denied involvement.

At the Moscow City Court, Khatsuyev admitted to possessing an illegal firearm, but his lawyer said it was not the pistol used in Ruslan Yamadayev's shooting. "My client has an ironclad alibi," lawyer Zaur Samkhanov later told reporters.
 

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Temmuz 2010, 11:52
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