Moscow Terror Attacks: Four Accused Men Appear In Court

Four men arrested on suspicion of committing the terror attacks in Moscow this weekend have appeared in court. The men are believed to have acted on behalf of the Islamic State (IS) terror group. So far 137 died and over 100 injured as a result of the attack.

Accused Men Appear in a Moscow Court

The four men were named as Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, Saidakrami Murodali Rachabalizoda, Shamsidin Fariduni and Muhammadsobir Fayzov. They are citizens of Tajikistan, a former member of the Soviet Union. A video released on Russian state media shows three suspects being brought into Basmanny district court in Moscow on Sunday.

Three of the accused were walked into the courtroom and a fourth was in a wheelchair. They sat in a glass-panelled booth, and all displayed clear signs of beating. One of the suspects was reportedly missing an eye. 

All of the men had clear physical damage to their faces. One of the suspects, Rachabalizoda, had a heavily bandaged ear. There is a suggestion that it was partially severed during his arrest.

There are rumours of torture methods such as electric shock being used on the suspects. Unsubstantiated reports of video leaks showing the suspects being beaten under interrogation have been made. 

Little Sympathy For Their Plight

Given the four are accused of filming themselves killing 137 people and injuring over 100 more during a terror attack, there’ll be little sympathy for them in Russia. The cold-blooded nature of their crime will garner nothing but hate amongst most Russians.

An official court statement released on the Telegram messaging service said Mirzoyev “admitted his guilt in full”, and that Rachabalizoda also “admitted guilt”. The TASS news agency in Russia later said all four pleaded guilty. 

The four suspects have been remanded in custody. The court added that they are set to be held in pre-trial detention until at least 22 May. Investigations will continue, but the admittance of guilt and extensive video evidence will quicken the process.

More Details of the Attack Emerging

The four accused gunmen entered the Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk during a rock concert. An estimated 6000 people were in attendance as the gunmen started the attack.

The four attackers indiscriminately opened fire at the concert-goers, recording the entire atrocity on video. Having made their way into the centre of the venue, they then set fire to the building, resulting in it being severely damaged. 

Russia Accused of Bringing Ukraine Into the Picture

The authorities in Russia have claimed that the gunmen were planning to leave the country via the Ukrainian border, having made various contacts on the other side. According to Ukraine and other countries, this claim has been called ‘absurd’.

The US and other Western security and intelligence agencies have suggested there is zero evidence at all that this was the case. The US has also said they have ‘no reason to doubt’ the claims of the Islamic State that they were behind this attack. Friday’s attack is the deadliest in Russia since the 2004 Beslan school siege, where 334 people lost their lives in a terrorist attack.

The Highest Casualty Number of An Islamic State Attack on European Soil

Friday’s Crocus City Hall atrocity is the deadliest on any European soil carried out by Islamic State. The group was largely forced underground following defeat in their Syria and Iraq between 2015-2020.

At the time of writing, there are 143 official deaths from the attack. The official injured list sits at 154 patients, all in a range of conditions and many people are still missing. Russian authorities say some patients are in a critical condition, and the death toll is expected to rise.

Islamic State Has Attacked Russia Before

In 2015 IS claimed responsibility for bombing a plane in Egypt containing 224 people – mostly Russians. There was also a bomb attack on the St Petersburg Metro in 2017, which killed 15 people. 

Islamic terrorists have long considered Russia a legitimate target for attack. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, long-standing support in Syria for President Bashar al-Assad and deadly wars in Chechnya in 1994-2009 are all cited as reasons for attack.

Spotlight Back on Islamic State

The attack is likely to draw some global attention back to the Islamic State terror group given the size and nature of this incident. Pressure will be put on the Tajikistani security services to fix this problem. 

Dictatorial leadership relies on shows of strength, so expect Putin to respond with heavy targeting of Islamic State leadership, if he’s able. An ongoing war in Ukraine is stifling his military capability. 

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