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Russia charges Four Suspects in Moscow Concert Hall attack



Russia charges Four Suspects in Moscow Concert Hall attack

Russian authorities have charged four men accused of orchestrating a devastating attack on a concert hall in Moscow, which resulted in the deaths of at least 137 people. The suspects were brought before a Moscow court, with three of them appearing in apparent physical distress while the fourth was in a wheelchair.

The attack, which occurred at Crocus City Hall, was claimed by the Islamic State group (IS), prompting Russian officials to accuse Ukraine of involvement, a claim Kyiv vehemently denies.

The four suspects have been identified as Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, Saidakrami Murodali Rachabalizoda, Shamsidin Fariduni, and Muhammadsobir Fayzov. Video footage showed them being escorted into the court by masked police officers, displaying visible injuries from their arrest.

Mirzoyev and Rachabalizoda appeared with blackened eyes, with reports indicating Rachabalizoda’s ear was heavily bandaged due to being partially severed during his apprehension. Additionally, Mirzoyev had a torn plastic bag wrapped around his neck. Fariduni’s face was swollen, and Fayzov was in a wheelchair, wearing a hospital gown and showing signs of serious injury, including a missing eye.

During the court proceedings, Mirzoyev and Rachabalizoda reportedly admitted their guilt, according to a statement released by the court on the Telegram messaging service. Mirzoyev, a Tajikistan citizen, confessed to his involvement in full.

The suspects are to remain in pre-trial detention until at least May 22, as stated by the court.

The attack took place during a rock concert at Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, a suburb of Moscow. Gunmen stormed the venue, firing on the crowd of approximately 6,000 attendees and setting fires that caused the roof to collapse.

IS claimed responsibility for the attack, releasing graphic footage of the assailants firing into the crowd. However, Russian officials have not acknowledged IS’s claim, instead alleging Ukrainian involvement, despite lacking evidence.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rebuffed the accusations, describing them as “absurd.” Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate also dismissed the notion of the suspects attempting to cross the heavily fortified border into Ukraine.

In addition to the four main suspects, seven others have been arrested in Russia on suspicion of aiding the attackers.

Reuters Shamsidin Fariduni and Muhammadsobir Fayzov

Reuters Two of the men named as suspects in the Moscow attack: Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev (left) and Saidakrami Murodali Rachabalizoda