Italian police have confirmed reports about the detention of a relative of a North Caucasus terrorist, but the detainee is the brother of a suicide bomber, not a rebel warlord, the local ANSA news agency reported.
Police identified the suspect as Anvar Sharipov, brother of Maryam Sharipova, a Dagestani native who blew herself up in Moscow's Lubyanka metro station in March. The blast, along with another rush-hour attack on Park Kultury station, killed 40 people.
Initial Italian news reports identified the detainee as Ruslan Umarov, 35, a brother of Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov.
Sharipov, who lived in Moscow at the time of the attack, is suspected by Russian investigators of guiding his sister to the metro station.
He is now being held at a detention center for illegal immigrants, ANSA said late Tuesday.
Maryam Sharipova was the wife of rebel leader Magomedali Vagabov, who investigators have named the mastermind of the bombings. He was killed in Dagestan in August.
Sharipov denied involvement in an interview with Novaya Gazeta in April.
His father, Rasul Magomedov, said Sharipov has fled abroad to escape abuse by law enforcement officers, Kommersant reported Wednesday.
“He didn't want to go through the circles of hell again,” Magomedov told the newspaper, adding that Sharipov was earlier jailed illegally in a Dagestani detention center.