11 august 2020

Central Asia news

Russian FSB Chief: St. Petersburg terror attack sponsor ‘practically established’

20.04.2017 22:20 msk


The sponsor of the terrorist act in the metro of St. Petersburg, which took place on 3 April 2017, ‘is practically established. Yes, yes, it is,’ said Alexander Bortnikov, the Russia FSB head on 20 April answering a question from the Interfax correspondent.

Abror (left) and Akram Azimovs

‘Everything that was officially found out proves that the terrorists had prepared the act that took place in the St. Petersburg metro. We will gradually brief you about the matter,’ added Bortnikov.

On 3 April 2017 there was an explosion in the metro of St. Petersburg which killed 15 people and more than 50 people were injured. The explosion was determined as a terrorist attack; the investigation believes that the bomb was blown up by a suicide bomber, a 22-year-old Russian citizen, a native of Kyrgyzstan Akbarjon Jalilov. A version is also being considered that Akbarjon Jalilov was not planning to become a suicide bomber, but was used as a ‘live bomb’.

One of the alleged organisers of the terrorist act is the 26-year-old Russian citizen, a native of Jalal-Abad (Kyrgyzstan) Abror Azimov, who was detained on 17 April in Odintsovo district of the Moscow region. He was the last person Akbarjon Jalilov contacted on the phone before the terrorist attack. The Moscow Basmanny Court has arrested Abror Azimov until the beginning of June.

FSB apprehended one of the alleged organisers of the terrorist act in the St. Petersburg metro

Two days later, on 19 April, the FSB announced the arrest of Abror Azimov's older brother, 29-year-old Akram Azimov, who is also a Russian citizen. ‘It is established that Akram Azimov assisted in the transfer of funds used in the preparation of the terrorist act, as well as the organisation of a communication channel with the emissaries of international terrorist organisations,’ said the FSB.

According to this intelligence service, Akram Azimov was apprehended in the village Moscowsky (new Moscow). During the body search, RGD-5 grenade was found in his waist bag. Meanwhile, on 18 April the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper quoted the words of the father of the Azimov brothers Akhral Azimov that Akram Azimov had been detained several days earlier in Kyrgyzstan and had been sent to Moscow.

‘I learned about the arrest of Abror on Monday on TV. Of course, I was in shock. I called my ex-wife in Kyrgyzstan. We are divorced, we have not been living together for 15 years - we cannot find a common language. Have not even talked lately. But we had to make peace now; after all, we have common children. So, I learned from her that 3-4 days ago, our first-born Akram was taken from the hospital. They got him straight from the hospital bed. The boy treated an antritis. As she was told, Akram was taken to Moscow,’ said Akhral Azimov.

He called the lie words about Abror and Akram had participated in the organisation of the terrorist act: ‘This is a lie! My children are brought up correctly. When I saw the news about the terrorist attack, I still thought - this suicide bomber will burn in hell, since no one is destined to take lives from innocent people. Akram and Abror will not even offend an ant. Despite the fact that I did not bring them up, they grew up decent boys. My brothers even envied me. By the way, I studied carefully the video footage of the apprehension of Abror and I think that they planted the weapon.’

According to Akhral Azimov, the two elder sons worked as sushi makers in Odintsovo, found the job on an ad. And then at the end of March Akram resigned – he had a row with managers, they took another employee. On 28 March Akram went to Kyrgyzstan to visit his family and treat a sick nose. Abror the other day also planned to go back to his homeland for a funeral – the grandmother died, my mother-in-law. Plus, he wanted to visit his wife and a disabled three-year-old daughter. Now they say that he once went to Turkey ... while he did not even have a passport. He could not lie to me!’

Commenting to Kyrgyz journalists, Azimov's mother, Vazira Mirzaakhmedova, said that on 14 April Akram was operated in Osh hospital, but the next day representatives of law enforcement agencies took him from a medical institution in handcuffs, Interfax reported. ‘On the same day, 15 April, I went to the hospital for Akram, but I was informed there that the son was taken away by the Osh Department of the State Committee for National Security. I went there with a lawyer, but they did not tell me anything in the department, and a few days later my son suddenly appeared in Moscow,’ said Ms Azimova. She claims that her son was ‘kidnapped from the hospital.’ ‘He did not have money for a ticket, and no passport. This is an obvious staging, I want justice,’ she said.

The lawyer of Abror Azimov, Armen Zadoyan, said that his client admitted his guilt. But at the court session Mr Azimov said: ‘I agree with the arrest, but I did not say that I had been involved in the explosion. There is participation, but not direct. I did not realise that I had been helping people. I was given a command.’

In turn, the Kyrgyz authorities reported that during the operational search activities they had not establish the fact of recruiting Akbarjon Jalilov and Abror Azimov on the territory of the republic by representatives of terrorist or extremist organisations.

‘While they were on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic they had no connections with representatives of radical, extremist or terrorist groups,’ TASS was told by a high-ranking source in law enforcement agencies of Kyrgyzstan.

According to him, Mr Jalilov and Mr Azimov had not been in the preventive list of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the republic and had not been included in the list of ‘potentially dangerous supporters of radical views’, and at the time of departure for permanent residence in Russia they ‘had not had strong believers’, had visited mosques ‘rarely enough’ and ‘had led a secular way of life.’

Akram Azimov appeared to be the tenth person involved in the case of the terrorist act in the St. Petersburg metro. Earlier, the courts of Moscow and St. Petersburg had detained eight suspects in addition to his brother.

FSB apprehended one of the alleged organisers of the terrorist act in the St. Petersburg metro

Meanwhile, two natives of Central Asian countries were shot dead in Vladimir oblast during a counter-terrorist operation. According to ‘Gazeta.Ru’, the dead were citizens of Tajikistan, four of their alleged accomplices managed to escape. The operation took place in the Aleksandrovsky district on the territory of the Lizunovsky rural district which unites 20 small villages. Currently, the district is operating the CTO (‘counter-terrorist operation’) regime, all law enforcement officers are working in a tightened security.

‘Lizunovo was visited by dozens of policemen and employees in plain clothes. They put checkpoints on the roads and began combing all the households,’ said one of the employees of the Lizunovsky rural district administration. According to him, all the migrants who work in the local dacha partnerships were driven to the Lizunovo club. ‘In total, four buses were taken from Lizunovo packed with migrant workers,’ the interlocutor of Gazeta.Ru reported.

The source in law enforcement agencies specified to the agency that ‘the dead were not members of the group of Djalilov who committed self-explosion in the St. Petersburg metro, and acted autonomously. However, it became possible to reach them during the development of communications and contacts of the persons involved in the case of the terrorist attack in St. Petersburg.’ Aleksandrovsky ROVD [district police] and the FSB in Vladimir oblast refused to comment on this information.

Fergana international information agency.