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Swedish Prosecutors Seek Long Prison Terms For Russians Accused Of Attacking Chechen Blogger

Tumso Abdurakhmanov
Tumso Abdurakhmanov

Prosecutors in Sweden are said to be seeking lengthy prison terms for two Russians on trial for allegedly trying to kill an exiled Chechen blogger with a hammer as he slept.

Tumso Abdurakhmanov, who fled Russia in 2015, reportedly survived the February 26 attack by overpowering one of the suspects.

Abdurakhmanov then posted a YouTube video in which he said he had just fought off the attack and is seen questioning a bloodied man lying on the floor.

It was one of a number of attacks outside Russia in the past two years targeting vocal critics of Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia's southern Republic of Chechnya.

Abdurakhmanov said on Telegram on December 16 that Swedish prosecutors had asked an Attunda district court to sentence the defendants in the case -- Ruslan Mamayev and Elmira Shapiayeva -- to at least 10 and eight years in prison, respectively.

He said the verdicts were expected on January 8.

Mamayev testified when the trial started on November 2 that he was acting on orders from Chechen officials and had since sought political asylum in Sweden.

He said he had secretly planned to be seen to have failed in order to discourage Chechen officials from punishing him.

Mamayev also claimed Chechen authorities promised to pay him 50,000 euros for assassinating Abdurakhmanov.

In late January, the body of Imran Aliyev, another Chechen blogger known for his criticism of Kadyrov, was found dead with stab wounds in a hotel room in the northern French city of Lille.

Austria has arrested two Chechen asylum seekers as part of an investigation into the July 4 killing in the Vienna suburb of Gerasdorf of another Kadyrov critic, Mamikhan Umarov.

In August 2019, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a former Chechen separatist fighter who had fled from Georgia to Germany, was shot dead in Berlin. A Russian national suspected in that killing went on trial in Germany in October.

Human rights groups have accused Kadyrov of widespread rights and other abuses in the region, allegations he denies.

Critics say Kadyrov is ultimately responsible for the violence and intimidation of political opponents by Chechen authorities, including kidnappings, forced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings.

Defenders claim Kadyrov has brought relative calm to the volatile region following two wars between Moscow and separatists after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.