x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Russian MP provided 'golden gun' used in Dubai killing, court told

The Russian MP and former deputy prime minister of Chechnya, Adam Delimkhanov, said the Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadayev "must die", a court hears.

Adam Delimkhanov, former deputy prime minister of Chechnya, is accused of providing the gun.
Adam Delimkhanov, former deputy prime minister of Chechnya, is accused of providing the gun.

DUBAI // The Russian MP and former deputy prime minister of Chechnya, Adam Delimkhanov, provided the "golden gun" used to assassinate the Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadayev and said Yamadayev "must die", a court heard yesterday. A police officer testified that a suspect in the case directly implicating Mr Delimkhanov in the killing. The second-hand testimony marked the first time Mr Delimkhanov has been linked in open court to the alleged plot to murder Yamadayev.

The officer, Mohammed al Mutawa'a, testified that he had been told that Mr Delimkhanov, a close ally of the Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov, had provided the gun allegedly used to kill Yamadayev in the basement car park of his apartment at Jumeirah Beach Residence. Mr al Mutawa'a said Mr Kadyrov's horse groomer, M H, currently on trial for aiding and abetting a premeditated murder, had heard Mr Delimkhanov speak ill of Yamadayev, saying: "He must die."

According to Mr al Mutawa'a, M H, 37, from Iran, gave him a detailed confession during interrogation and claimed that he received the murder weapon from Mr Delimkhanov about three months before the March 28 murder. A delegation of Chechen officials had apparently been visiting Dubai in early January. "MH said that he received a bag from Adam just before the Chechen president's delegation left the country heading back," Mr al Mutawa'a told the court. "He said that he found a golden gun inside the bag after he grew curious to its contents."

Court documents show that, during that visit, Mr Delimkhanov and another Chechen man had followed Yamadayev, who was returning to Dubai after a trip, from the airport to his home as part of the planning of the alleged assassination. MH and another suspect MJ, a Tajik, are both being tried for aiding and abetting the crime. MH is also charged with possessing an unlicensed weapon. Mr al Mutawa'a told the court yesterday that MH claimed Mr Delimkhanov had contacted him three months after handing over the bag and asked him to text him Yamadayev's Jumeirah Beach Residence address. He said that MH said that Mr Delimkhanov later told him to take some people to stake out Yamadayev's home.

MH allegedly told Mr al Mutawa'a that three men had surveyed the complex's basement parking area for 45 minutes, making a note of Yamadayev's parking space. Mr Delimkhanov contacted MH on another occasion, instructing him to hand the murder weapon to another person. MH told the officer, according to his testimony in court, that he had handed the bag containing the gold-plated 9mm Stechkin APS pistol with a full magazine to a Russian man he was instructed to meet by Mr Delimkhanov. MH allegedly met him near Clock Tower roundabout in Deira and handed over the bag.

Yamadayev, who was aged 35, had commanded the elite Vostok battalion in Chechnya. He was a Chechen rebel fighter who reportedly switched sides to fight for the Russians. Police said Yamadayev had been living in Dubai with his wife and six children after he reportedly moved here earlier in 2009. Interpol has issued seven arrest warrants in the case, including one for Mr Delimkhanov. The trial was yesterday adjourned until February 25. The defendants were remanded in custody and were refused bail.

amustafa@thenational.ae