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Suspected Biryulyovo Killer Rescinds Confession

Zeinalov, center, being escorted into a courtroom at Presnensky District Court for a detention hearing Thursday. Alexander Zemlianichenko

Azerbaijan wants to provide consular support to an Azeri accused of a killing that triggered ethnic riots in Moscow's Biryulyovo district, the country's ambassador said, as the suspect rescinded his confession in the case.

Azeri Ambassador Polad Bulbuloglu on Wednesday vowed to offer assistance to Biryulyovo killing suspect Orkhan Zeinalov, while also accusing the Russian media of creating a "hysteria" around a commonplace crime. "He must have access to lawyers, and, if necessary, he must have access to translators," Bulbuloglu told Dozhd TV on Wednesday.

On Thursday, however, at a hearing over the case, Zeinalov took back the confession he had earlier given to investigators.

"I do not agree. I have not killed anyone," he said through a translator, Lenta.ru reported. He also asked police to release him on bail.

Earlier, Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry released a statement saying Russia had violated Zeinalov's right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

A formal note carrying Azerbaijan's request to intervene in the case was sent to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday, an unidentified diplomat told Interfax.

Russia's Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said Wednesday that Zeinalov had requested an interpreter shortly after his arrest Tuesday, and that all of the case materials would have to be translated into Azeri.

Bulbuloglu said Russian media coverage of the case has spurred ethnic prejudice in Russia, thereby violating the rights of the suspect.

"This is essentially a commonplace crime, a commonplace killing, which happens every day in large cities," he said. "It is all in a day's work for the police. Look what kind of hysteria has been blown up around it."

The Investigative Committee has opened a case on suspicion of facilitating illegal migration against the general director and the chairman of the company that owns a vegetable warehouse in Biryulyovo, Markin said.

Violent rioting took place at the warehouse, which is predominantly staffed by migrants, over the weekend.

Company president Magomed Tolboyev, who has not been charged, said that he has not seen the general director, Alia Shaba Gadzhiyev, for more than a year and has no idea where he is, Interfax reported Thursday.

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