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Jailed Former Makhachkala Mayor Amirov On Trial Again


Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov has survived more than a dozen assassination attempts, one of which, in 1993, left him paralyzed and wheelchair-bound.

Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov has survived more than a dozen assassination attempts, one of which, in 1993, left him paralyzed and wheelchair-bound.

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia -- Security was tight as the imprisoned former mayor of Makhachkala, capital of Russia's restive Daghestan region in the North Caucasus, was led into a courtroom for a new trial on murder and terrorism charges.

An armored personnel carrier stood outside the North Caucasus Regional Court in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don on May 12, and security forces ringed the building as Said Amirov's second trial got under way.

In July, the same court convicted Amirov of planning a terrorist act and illegal weapons possession, and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Amirov, 60, became Makhachkala's first elected mayor in 1998. He has survived more than a dozen assassination attempts, one of which, in 1993, left him paralyzed and wheelchair-bound.

Under the new charges, he and seven co-defendants are accused of murdering Investigative Committee official Arsen Gadzhibekov in 2011 and plotting to carry out a terrorist attack in the Daghestani town of Kaspiisk.

Amirov's co-defendants include his nephew Yusup Dzhaparov, a former mayor of Kaspiisk, who was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison at the previous trial.

At that trial, Amirov and Dzhaparov were found guilty of planning to carry out a missile attack against a plane carrying Sagid Murtazaliyev, the head of the Russian Pension Fund's branch in Daghestan. They were also initially accused of killing Gadzhibekov, but were not convicted of that at the time.

Amirov pleaded not guilty at the first trial.

Before the hearing on May 12, defense lawyer Vladimir Postanyuk told journalists that Amirov's health was "not good" and alleged that he was being held illegally in a pretrial detention center.

"Amirov has been placed in a detention center, where he is not supposed to be due to his health condition," Postanyuk said. He said Amirov had diabetes.

The lawyer said that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg had ruled that Amirov could only be incarcerated after consultation with medical authorities.

Daghestan has been plagued with violence linked to organized crime and Islamic extremism for years.

With reporting by Interfax
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