Today, on 17 March 2021, the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic quashed a verdict of the court of the first instance with regard to Said-Magomed Omarov from Grozny, convicted for the murder of chemists’ manager Aleksey Kardashov and a theft of his car. Previously, Omarov provided evidence on involvement of four Chechen law-enforcement officers’ in abduction and death of Kardashov, however, later on he suddenly changed his evidence. Two of these law-enforcement officers subsequently were sentenced to three and a half years of conditional term for illegal apprehension of Kardashov, two of them are in the federal wanted list.
As we have previously reported, on 15 April 2019, Tsilya Yakubova from Khasavyurt town of the Republic of Dagestan applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. She reported that on 14 September 2017, her son Aleksey Kardashov brought her to the dentist on his car and she has never seen him since. On the same day, Yakubova applied to the Investigative Committee and reported her son missing.
On 21 September 2017, a criminal case was opened with this regard by the Khasavyurt Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Republic of Dagestan under part 1 Article 126 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“kidnapping”). On 2 April 2018, criminal cases were initiated with regard to the fact of theft of money from Kardashov’s bank cards, as well as of his car. Later on, all the three criminal cases were joined in one procedure.
On 11 September 2018, Said-Magomed Omarov from Grozny was interrogated on this criminal case. He told the investigator that four law-enforcement officers from Chechnya were involved in Kardashov’s kidnapping: Deputy Head of Interdistrict Department No.2 of the Narcotics Control Department of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for the Chechen Republic Kalogi Aziyev, head of the same department Alikhan Yusupov, as well as the officers of the Department of the Federal Service of National Guard troops for the Chechen Republic Aslan Dukayev and Bekkhan Abdurashidov.
Mr Omarov explained to the investigator that on 13 September 2017 he purchased psychotropic medication from the Khasavyurt drugstore administrator Aleksey Kardashov and returned to Grozny, where he was apprehended by law-enforcement officers together with the acquaintance of his and taken to the Rosgvardiya department, located at the Staropromyslovsky avenue. There, during the interrogation, he and the acquaintance of his were beaten up with rubber and polypropylene hoses, as well as kicked.
In addition, Omarov told the investigator that after some time the acquaintance of his was released, and the police officers started to inquire where he purchases psychotropic medication. He told that he purchases from Aleksey Kardashov. After some time, Kardashov called him and asked when he was going to visit him again. Then, the police officers said that Omarov should ask Kardashov to sell him 50 bottles of Tropikamide and 10 blisters of Lyrika. Aleksey agreed and they settled to meet the next day in Khasavyurt.
According to Omarov’s theory, which he reported to the investigator, on 14 September 2017 he and six Chechen law-enforcement officers went from Grozny to Khasavyurt in three cars (later on, Omarov would be able to identify four officers out of six – author’s note). Having arrived on location, he pointed at Kardashov, after that, the law-enforcement officers having used violence, seized him and rammed him at the back seat of the car. Then, one of the law-enforcement officers got in the car belonged to Kardashov, and all of them went to the Interdistrict Department No.2 of the Narcotics Control Department of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for the Chechen Republic, located in Gudermes. Omarov saw the car with Kardashov entering the territory of this department. Omarov himself was brought to Grozny to the Rosgvardiya department where in the middle of the night they give him his phone back and released him.
On 15 October 2018, based on Omarov’s evidence, investigator of the Khasavyurt Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Republic of Dagestan initiated criminal proceedings with regard to Aleksey Kardashov’s murder. In November 2018 the case was transferred to the first department for major cases with the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Chechen Republic, due to the fact that Omarov gave testimony that the Chechen law-enforcement officers were involved in Kardashov’s kidnapping.
On 11 January 2019, four Chechen law-enforcement officers Kalogi Aziyev, Alikhan Yusupov, Aslan Dukayev and Bekkhan Abdurashidov were put on a wanted list with regard to Aleksey Kardashov’s abduction.
However, after the criminal case was transferred to the Chechen investigators, the circumstances changed abruptly. On 15 February 2019, Omarov suddenly applied to the Department of the Interior for the Gudermes District himself with a confession of Kardashov’s murder. So from a witness Omarov turned into a defendant.
Omarov changed the evidence which he provided previously, having informed that only Rosgvardiya officers Aslan Dukayev Bekkhan Abdurashidov went with him to Khasavyurt. In addition, he also said that the law-enforcement officers did not applied violence against him, but only asked to come to the Gudermes Police Department. According to the new Omarov’s theory, on the road they stopped at settlement Druzhba in the Gudermes District in order to check whether Kardashov had any prohibited substances on him. No such substances were found on him, and Dukayev and Abdurashidov went to Grozny, having left him and Kardashov alone. Then they had a fight, as a result of which he hit Aleksey’s temple with a stone and then, when he placed him in the car and realized he was not breathing, he dumped the body in the Terek river bed between Komsomolvskoye and Khangish-Yurt settlements, and sold Aleksey’s car on the market.
Despite the new evidence provided by Omarov, in March 2019, Dukayev and Abdurashidov were arrested on suspicion of Kardashov’s abduction. On 21 March, they were charged under item “a”, Part 2 of Article 126 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“abduction of a person performed by a group of persons”).
However, when the case was transferred to court, the charges were changed to part 1 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“abuse of office”). According to the new theory of the investigative authorities, the law-enforcement officers only performed illegal apprehension of Kardashov, having violated territorial and departamental jurisdiction.
Later on, judge of the Gudermes City Court of the Chechen Republic declared Abdurashidov and Dukayev to be guilty of abuse of office and sentenced each of them to three and a half years’ conditional term.
Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture appealed against this verdict.
At the present time, Kalogi Aziyev and Alikhan Yusupov are still on the federal wanted list.
On 23 November 2020, judge of the Gudermes City Court of the Chechen Republic Arbi Ibragimov declared Said-Magomed Omarov guilty of committing the crimes under part 1 of Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“murder”) and part 3 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“theft”) and sentenced him to nine years of jail time with serving a sentence in maximum security penal colony.
Yesterday, the panel of judges of the Supreme Court of Chechnya satisfied the demands of the appellate appeal off by the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture and quashed the verdict of the court of the first instance with regard to Said-Magomed Omarov, having sent the case for a new court examination.
The representative of the Prosecutor’s Office in court also asked to quash the verdict.
“The Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic gave us a nice surprise. Quashing Omarov’s verdict and sending the case for a new examination gives us an opportunity to once again bring the court’s attention to a large number of contradictions and inconsistency of the participants’ evidence, as well as to demand to requalify the Omarov’s indictment, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Leysan Mannapova comments. – We shall insist that the criminal case is returned for a new examination and that it is joined with the criminal case of Abdurashitov and Dukayev, Aziyev and Yusoupov and with the criminal case against an unidentified person who stole the money from Kardashov’s bank card. The events of that day which led to Kardashov’s disappearance, must be examined in the framework of one judicial process, for the truth to be established and a fair verdict to be passed”.