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Russia Extends Pre-Trial Detention of Crocus Attack Suspects

Fariduni Shamsidin, one of the four suspects in the March 22 attack on the Crocus City Hall, is escorted after a hearing at the Basmanny District Court. Mikhail Tereshchenko / TASS

A Moscow court ruled Thursday to extend the pre-trial detention of eight men accused of organizing and carrying out the deadly Crocus City Hall concert attack in March.

Law enforcement agents arrested four gunmen the day after the March 22 attack, which left 145 people dead and hundreds more wounded. A total of 11 people were eventually arrested in connection with the deadly shooting, which was claimed by Islamic State affiliate ISIS-K.

Moscow’s Basmanny District Court ruled in separate decisions on Thursday to extend the detention of Muhammadsobir Faizov, Dalerjon Mirzoyev, Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, Shamsidin Fariduni, Yakubjoni Yusufzoda, Dzhumokhon Kurbonov, Muhammad Zoir Sharipzoda, and Nazrimada Lutfulloi until Aug. 22.

In a video shared by the Moscow court system, one of the suspected gunmen, Rachabalizoda, could be seen sitting inside a defendant’s box with part of his right ear cut off, seeming to corroborate previous claims that he was tortured by Russian law enforcement agents.

Another suspected gunman, Faizov, was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair and did not appear fully — if at all — conscious. 

The four suspected gunmen, who are all Tajik nationals, previously showed signs of having been tortured, sparking protests from Tajikistan, a Moscow ally in Central Asia that is a source of many of Russia’s migrant workers.

At Thursday’s hearings, journalists were asked to leave the courtroom, according to the independent news website Mediazona.

Moscow has blamed radical Islamists, Ukraine, and the West for the Crocus City Hall attack, the deadliest in Russia since the 2004 Beslan school siege, which resulted in the killing of more than 300 people.

Russias Investigative Committee has claimed it has evidence that “Ukrainian nationalists” were ultimately behind the attack and financed the gunmen with cryptocurrency payments. However, it has yet to bring forward evidence to back the allegations.

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