Main Suspect in Nemtsov Murder To Be Tried in Military Court

January 29, 2016
Zaur Dadayev in court in March 2015. Photo by Reuters

LIVE UPDATES: Zaur Dadayev, a former officer in Chechnya’s Interior Ministry troops, will be tried by a military court, Nemtsov’s lawyer has learned.

Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.

The previous issue is here.

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EgyptAir Mechanic’s ISIS Cousin Said to Plant Bomb on Metrojet; Russia Denies, But Admits ‘Terrorist Act’

Reuters reported today that an EgyptAir mechanic whose cousin joined ISIS in Syria is suspected of planting a bomb on the Metrojet (Kogalymavia) Flight 9268, an Airbus A321 that was downed on October 31, 2015, killing all 224 on board.
Egypt has said it found no evidence that the flight was brought down by terrorism, and a senior airline official denies that any of the airport employees were under suspicion.
Reuters reports:

But the sources, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation, said the mechanic had been detained, along with two airport policemen and a baggage handler suspected of helping him put the bomb on board.

“After learning that one of its members had a relative that worked at the airport, Islamic State delivered a bomb in a handbag to that person,” said one of the sources, adding the suspect’s cousin joined Islamic State in Syria a year and a half ago.

“He was told to not ask any questions and get the bomb on the plane.”

Another source said of the other suspects: “Two policemen are suspected of playing a role by turning a blind eye to the operation at a security checkpoint. But there is a possibility that they were just not doing their jobs properly.”

The FSB’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAC) said that they could not confirm the claims from Egypt.

But Yevgeny Ilyin, first deputy head of the NAC said Russia’s Investigative Committee was changing the charges under the investigation into the downing of the Metrojet to terrorism. Earlier it had been investigated as “provision of services not meeting safety requirements” and “violation of transportation safety regulations and use of air transport,” Interfax reported.
The flight crashed 23 minutes after leaving Sharm-al-Sheikh Airport in Egypt bound for St. Petersburg.

Although FSB chief Aleksandr Bortnikov had reported to President Vladimir Putin on November 17 that there was a bomb with up to one kilogram of TNT on board and that it was “unambiguously a terrorist act,” the investigation did not characterize it as such until now. 

Egypt has been losing $225 million a month in revenue from tourism as as resort hotel reservations are down 20%, AP reports. reports that flights from Russia to Egypt are still banned, although talks have been resumed with Egypt; Putin has said that, until Egyptian authorities resolve security issues for Russians, flights cannot be renewed.

Igor Trunov, a lawyer for the relatives of the victims of the crash, filed a complaint against Aleksandr Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee for refusing to allow him access to the case files and ignoring complaints, as well as delaying in declaring the relatives legally as victims, but a court rejected his suit on January 13.

Trunov is also the lawyer for the families of those killed in a special forces raid on the Dubrovka theater held hostage by terrorists on October 23, 2002; he filed 62 suits totalling 60 ($794,339) million rubles and lost all of them.
Today Trunov learned that he may lose his law license as he will be reviewed on February 2 by the Moscow Chamber of Attorneys for “unqualified verbal consultation.” Although complaints about a lawyer’s services must be filed within six months of an incident, one of his clients from some years ago from Dagestan has filed a complaint against him.

He has also served as the attorney in the case of the Tsaritsyno precinct policeman Denis Yevsyukov who opened fire in a supermarket, and the case of Lukoil Vice President Anatoly Barkov who was found guilty of running down and killing a pedestrian, Olga Aleksandrina.

Trunov believes he has been placed under hostile review because the authorities don’t like the cases he is taking up.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

Main Suspect in Nemtsov Murder To Be Tried in Military Court
RBC. ru has reported that Zaur Dadayev, a former officer in Chechnya’s Interior Ministry troops, will be tried by a military court, Nemtsov’s lawyer has learned.
Vadim Prokhorov, the lawyer for Nemtsov’s family, has said that in the near future, family members, as the plaintiffs in the case, an apparently the suspects, will be given the case files to examine, after which the case will be transferred to Moscow District Military Court.
Prokhorov believes that trial will take place there because it has been determined that Dadayev was still an active member of the military, serving in the Sever [North] Battalion of the Chechen Interior Troops at the moment he committed the murder.
There was some speculation as to whether he would still be considered as an active military officer as he had taken a month’s leave before the murder, and submitted a notice of resignation. It is not clear if the other defendants, at least one of whom, Anzor Gubashev, also served in the military with Dadayev, will also be tried in the military court.
Late last year, Aleksandr Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee, named Ruslan Mukhudinov, the driver of Ruslan Geremeyev, Sever Battalion commander, as the contractor and organizer of the meeting. Yet learned that Bastrykin had twice not signed the documents to charge Mukhudinov in July and September, and by the time he did sign them, Mukhudinov had fled Russia. Geremeyev, who was not charged, was also allowed to escape.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick