Moscow Concert Hall Attack Suspects in Court: Russia’s Security Services Under Scrutiny

 NEWSLINE PAPER,- In a shocking turn of events, four men, believed to be the masterminds behind the horrific attack at a concert hall in Moscow, have been brought to court on charges of terrorism. The incident, which resulted in the tragic loss of 139 lives, has led to widespread criticism of the Kremlin’s security services for their inability to prevent the massacre.

Late on Sunday night, the suspects were ushered into a Moscow courtroom. Three of them were visibly distressed, while the fourth, seemingly unresponsive, was brought in a wheelchair.

The suspects, identified as Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, Shamsidin Fariduni, and Mukhammadsobir Faizov, hail from the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan. They had been working in Russia on temporary or expired visas. If convicted, they face a life sentence.

The charges against them include storming the Crocus City Hall in a Moscow suburb, indiscriminately shooting civilians, and setting the building on fire. The fire led to the collapse of the roof, trapping concert-goers inside.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the massacre and released graphic footage of the incident. However, Moscow has insinuated, without providing evidence, that the attackers planned to escape to Ukraine. This claim has been vehemently denied by Kyiv, who dismissed it as “absurd.”

During a meeting with government officials on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin attributed the attack to “radical Islamists.” He stated, “We know that the crime was committed by radical Islamists, whose ideology the Islamic world itself has been fighting for centuries.”

The first suspect charged, Mirzoyev, appeared in court with visible injuries, including a black eye and bruises on his face. He also had a plastic bag wrapped around his neck. Mirzoyev, 32, had a temporary resident permit for three months in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, but it had expired, according to Russian state media RIA Novosti.

Rachabalizoda, born in 1994, told the court through an interpreter that he has Russian registration documents but could not remember where they are. He appeared in court with a swollen eye and a bandaged ear.

The third defendant, Fariduni, born in 1998, was employed at a factory in the industrial city of Podolsk and registered in Krasnogorsk, both near Moscow.

The three men pleaded guilty to the terrorism charges, according to Russian media reports. It was unclear what the fourth man, Faizov, born in 2004, pled. He was pictured lying limp in a wheelchair inside a glass cage.

The men looked beaten and injured as they were brought into the courtroom. Videos and still images that appeared to show some of them being violently interrogated, including one apparent use of electrocution, circulated widely on Russian social media.

One video appears to show Rachabalizoda being held on the ground while having part of his ear cut off and stuffed in his mouth by a camouflage-wearing interpreter.

Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Russian state propaganda network RT, posted a video of Rachabalizoda appearing in court with a heavily bandaged ear.

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