A court in Chechnya sentenced taxi driver Said Omarov to eight years and two months of imprisonment for the murder of Aleksey Kardashov. Initially, the Investigative Committee suspected that the abduction of Mr. Kardashov was effectuated by the local security forces


07 July 2023


The owner of a pharmacy, Aleksey Kardashov, disappeared in the fall of 2017. The man was taken from Dagestan to Chechnya, and after that he vanished. Aleksey was suspected of illegal sale of a potent drug. According to the case file, after his arrest, Aleksey was taken to Gudermes, where the policemen stole his car, and unknown people withdrew all the money from his bank card.

The conviction in the case of Said Omarov has already been overturned twice by higher courts. Today Said faced the judgment of the Nozhay-Yurt District Court of Chechnya, which sentenced him to 8 years and 2 months in a strict regime colony for the murder of Mr. Kardashov (part 1 of Article 105 of the Criminal Code) and theft of his car (part 3 of Article 158 of the Code). The lawyers of the Crew Against Torture represent the interests of Mr. Kardashov’s mother, Tsilya Yakubova, in court. Tsilya does not believe in Omarov’s guilt and, along with human rights activists, she claims that Said incriminated himself, so the true perpetrators remain at large.

In October 2018, Said Omarov became a witness in the case of Mr. Kardashov’s disappearance. Said informed the Dagestan investigators that law enforcement officers from Chechnya were involved in the abduction and disappearance of Aleksey. Subsequently, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case, and four police officers were put on the wanted list: Alikhan Yusupov (the head of the Chechen Department for Drug Control), his deputy Kalogi Aziyev, as well as two officers of the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardiya) — Aslan Dukayev and Bekkhan Abdurashidov.

However, after the transfer of the criminal case to the Chechen investigators, Mr. Omarov’s testimony changed drastically. In February 2019, he suddenly turned himself in to the Gudermes police station and wrote a confession about the murder of Mr. Kardashov. Therefore, Mr. Omarov became an accused person.

The CAT lawyers have repeatedly pointed out that there is no evidence of Said’s guilt in that criminal case, except for those based on his confession. However, the version with Omarov’s guilt is temptingly “convenient”, because it closes questions about the possible involvement of the state agents. The body of Mr. Kardashov was never found, as Mr. Omarov allegedly threw it into the river. Despite this, the forensic medical examination describes how Said inflicted multiple blows on Aleksey Kardashov, from which, according to the expert, he could theoretically die.

On 6 June 2023, the Gudermes City Court of Chechnya nevertheless found former employees of the Russian Guard Bekhan Abdurashidov and Aslan Dukayev guilty of unlawfully arresting Aleksey Kardashov. However, the article on abduction was excluded from the charge. The former officers were conditionally sentenced to two years of correctional colony. The court considered that they only carried out the unlawful arrest of Mr. Kardashov, but at the same time they allegedly did not use violence and did not abduct him. The remaining police officers are still on the wanted list.

The lawyers of the Crew Against Torture will challenge Mr. Omarov’s sentence, as well as the judgment against former officers of the Russian Guard.

The lawyer of the CAT, underlines the following: «The evidence of Omarov’s guilt is very doubtful. The chronology that is visible from his confession contradicts the location of his phone on the day Mr. Kardashov was abducted. It also contradicts the time required to travel by car from Khasavyurt to Grozny via Gudermes. The version of events that Mr. Omarov set out in his confession is not supported by either billing of telephone connections or information from road cameras. Even Mr. Kardashov’s body has not yet been found. Meanwhile, I am deeply convinced that other people should be tried in this case — namely, policemen who managed to avoid accusations of abducting Aleksey and stealing his car and money. We will seek the quashing of both sentences and the additional investigation of the criminal case.»

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