Dubai slashes jail terms in Chechen killing

22nd December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Dubai court has reduced the prison terms of an Iranian and a Tajik, convicted in the killing of Chechen leader Sulim Yamadyev, from 25 years to three, a local daily reported on Wednesday.

"The Dubai Court of Appeals has slashed the sentences of the men accused of assassinating the former Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadayev in Dubai from life (25 years) to three years," The National daily reported in its online edition.

In April, the Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced Mahdi Taghi Zahounia of Iran and Tajik businessman Mahsoujan Amsmanov to life in prison.

Yamadayev, a bitter foe of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, was shot dead on March 28, 2009 in a car parking outside his flat at Dubai's Jumeirah Beach Residence complex.

According to The National, the court had changed its verdict because the victim's relatives had signed a statement saying they "forfeited the right for retributive punishment and said they were not seeking financial compensation for the murder."

The defendants had been threatened with torture if they did not confess to the crime, their lawyers, who described the case as "tainted by politics," told the English-language daily.

Yamadayev left Russia and moved to Dubai in 2009, fearing for his life after a brother was assassinated in September 2008, according to Russian media.

In April 2009, Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan accused Chechen Vice Prime Minister Adam Delimkhanov of ordering Yamadayev's assassination.

A former Chechen separatist, Yamadayev switched sides in the late 1990s and became the commander of Vostok, an elite battalion fighting anti-Russian rebels. He was honoured with Russia's top decoration, the Hero of Russia award.

He was dismissed from the military in late 2008 amid bitter rivalry with Kadyrov.

© 2010 AFP

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