x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Sentences cut in Chechen warlord killing case

The Dubai Court of Appeals has slashed the sentences of two men accused of taking part in the assassination of the former Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadayev.

Sentences slashed for the men accused of assassinating the former Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadayev.
Sentences slashed for the men accused of assassinating the former Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadayev.

DUBAI // The Dubai Court of Appeals has slashed the sentences of two men accused of taking part in the assassination of the former Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadayev in Dubai from life to three years.

MH, a horse groom for the Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov, and MJ, 32, a Tajik national, had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison by the lower court in April for aiding and abetting the premeditated murder of Mr Yamadayev, a rival to Mr Kadyrov.

They were also convicted of possessing an unlicensed weapon, a gold-plated 9mm Stechkin APS, thought to be the weapon that killed Mr Yamadayev.

Mr Yamadayev was shot to death in the basement car park of his Jumeirah Beach Residence building on March 28, 2009, in an assassination that is thought to have been politically motivated.

Upon receiving the verdict, MH’s wife, Zohrah Nikam started praying and thanking God in the courtroom.

She told The National: “I’m very happy. I cannot say anything right now to express my feelings.”

Key to the verdict was a declaration signed by the Yamadayev family executor in which the family forfeited the right for retributive punishment and said they were not seeking financial compensation for the murder.

Closing arguments in Mr Yamadayev’s case were held earlier this month.

Lawyers for the defendants accused of killing Mr Yamadayev said their clients were threatened with torture if they did not confess to the crime, and they said the case was tainted by politics.

Nine men, including MH, MJ, a former deputy prime minister of Chechnya and a current Russian member of parliament, are believed by police to have been involved.

Dubai police issued seven Interpol red notices, or arrest warrants, for the suspected killers. One of the men wanted by Dubai is a Russian Duma member and close associate of Mr Kadyrov, Adam Delimkhanov.

Mr Yamadayev had been living in Dubai with his wife and six children since January 2009.

amustafa@thenational.ae