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Wife of Alleged Ukrainian Terrorist Accuses Russia of Torture

Andrei Zahktyei, one of the men suspected of plotting alleged terrorist attacks in Crimea, is escorted from a court in Simferopol, Crimea, Aug. 13, 2016. AP

A Ukrainian woman has accused Russia's security services of torturing her husband to force him to admit to terror-related charges, the Dozhd news channel reported Tuesday.

Andrei Zahktyei confessed to planning terrorist attacks on the Crimean peninsula in a video released by Russia on Aug. 12. He also admitted to working for the Ukrainian security services, and claimed that he had scouted potential locations where bombs could be planted at Crimea’s Simferopol airport.

“I admit that I was working to find places to plant explosives and commit terrorist attacks,” he said in the clip.

Russia's Kommersant newspaper reported last week that Zakhtyei had only been charged with disorderly conduct, despite his confession of terrorism.

Kiev has confirmed that Zakhtyei is Ukrainian, but denied reports that he worked for state intelligence agencies. A member of Ukraine’s parliament later announced that Zakhtyei was a known low-level criminal with a number of past convictions, who had left Ukraine for Russia five years earlier to avoid creditors.

in an interview with independent Russian T.V. channel Dozhd, Zakhtyei’s wife Oksana maintained that her husband was innocent.

“Clients called and he took them where they needed to go, but terrorists… it’s not true,” she said, telling journalists Zakhtyei worked as a taxi driver and courier. 

She "instantly knew" that her husband had been tortured after seeing his taped confession, she said. “His face was swollen, lips burst, his hands bruised” she added.

Oksana also claimed that she had been driven out of her apartment and was seen by neighbors as a "terrorist's accomplice." “A village is a small republic with its own laws. I talk to no one hear, I know no one. No one has visited me for a month,” she said.

Russia's Federal Security Service announced on Aug. 11 that a "terrorist plot" prepared by the Ukrainian military had been foiled in Crimea. The plot had allegedly been designed to disrupt the region's tourism industry by planting a series of explosions.

The allegations caused tensions between Russia and Ukraine to flare, with the Kremlin accusing Kiev of "choosing terrorism" and threatening to break political ties.

Kiev has denied all of the allegations.

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