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Chechen Man Dies in Police Custody After Crocus Attack – Reports

Askhab Uspanov.

A Chechen man died in police custody hours after being detained in Moscow in connection with last month’s deadly concert hall attack, the investigative news outlet Agentstvo reported, citing the man’s mother.

Taisa Uspanova told Agentstvo that her son Askhab Uspanov was detained by police on March 22, the day of the Crocus City Hall attack, which saw camouflaged gunmen kill more than 140 people and wound hundreds more.

According to the mother, Uspanov’s wife went to the police station where he was being held after receiving a phone call from him. When his wife arrived at the police station, she was told that her husband had died.

Uspanov’s mother maintained that her son had nothing to do with the concert hall attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State affiliate ISIS-K despite accusations from top Russian officials that Ukraine and its Western allies were somehow involved in the mass shooting. 

The Chechen opposition group 1Adat, which first reported on Uspanov’s death in police custody late last week, claimed that he had been tortured during his detention.

On Monday, 1Adat published graphic videos of what was said to be Uspanov’s body after an autopsy. The person recording the videos says Uspanov had a fractured skull, a broken ribcage and a broken spine.

“They staged suicide through hanging to conceal their crimes,” the unidentified person could be heard saying in one of the videos.

It was not immediately possible to verify the reports by Agentstvo and 1Adat or the videos, and Russian law enforcement officials have yet to publicly comment on Uspanov’s reported death. 

Uspanov’s mother told Agentstvo that she does not believe her son could have committed suicide because of his Muslim faith. 

She added that Uspanov, who was buried in his native republic of Chechnya, had a construction business. Russia’s corporate registry notes that his business was liquidated on March 22 “due to the individual entrepreneur’s death.”

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