Four suspects in Crocus City Hall attack charged with terror offences

A Moscow court charged four men with committing an act of terrorism on Sunday evening following Friday’s attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue which killed at least 137 people, the city’s court press service reported.

The court named the men as Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, Saidakrami Murodali Rachabalizoda, Muhammadsobir Fayzov and Shamsidin Fariduni. All four are citizens of Tajikistan.

Their charges come after footage emerged on Saturday of several men being brutally detained in Russia’s western Bryansk region, where they were allegedly planning to cross the border with Ukraine.

Photographs from Sunday’s court hearing showed that all four men had signs of injuries, with Fayzov in a wheelchair and reportedly losing consciousness throughout, while Mirzoyev apparently struggled to stand. Rachabalizoda’s right ear was bandaged after a video circulated on Saturday appeared to show the men who arrested him cutting off a part of it and attempting to make him eat it.

Footage published by Kremlin propagandist Margarita Simonyan on Saturday showed a visibly beaten Fariduni apparently confessing to carrying out the attack for 500,000 rubles (€5,000).

Mirzoyev and Rachabalizoda pleaded guilty, the court service said, with all four men to be held in pre-trial detention until 22 May. If found guilty, they face life imprisonment.

The death toll from Friday’s attack, the deadliest in Russia since the Beslan school siege in 2004, now stands at 137, with a further 182 people injured and 10 missing.

Responsibility for the attack was claimed on Friday evening by a Central Asian cell of the jihadist group Islamic State. On Saturday, the group released footage of the gunmen at the scene of the attack, appearing to corroborate its claims.

In an address to the nation on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the attackers had links to Ukraine, alleging that Ukraine had organised a “window” to allow them to cross from Russia into the country.

Kyiv has repeatedly denied its involvement in the attack, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calling Putin’s claims “predictable” and accusing the Russian president of orchestrating the attack to justify escalation in Ukraine.

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