Moscow music hall terrorist attack suspects appear in court News
JuliánAlejandroS, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Moscow music hall terrorist attack suspects appear in court

Two suspects of the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack appeared before Moscow’s district court on Sunday. On Friday, camouflage-clad individuals opened fire on a crowded concert hall and shopping complex just outside of Moscow before setting the structure ablaze, according to local official statements and media reports.

Russian security services identified the suspects as two nationals from Tajikistan. Authorities detained them on Saturday alongside nine other suspects after trying to flee the country through the Ukrainian border. They were brought one after the other at around 11 pm Sunday to Basmanny district court in Moscow for pre-trial hearings. Two additional hitmen, who are also originally from Tajikistan, appeared before the same court later, with the fourth arrested in the early hours of Monday.

The Russian court accused the suspects of committing “a terror attack in group resulting in a human death” according to article 205 of the Russian Criminal Code and decided to hold all of them in detention until May, with no further details as to the date of the trial. The offense carries a sentence of life imprisonment, and three of the charged hitmen pleaded guilty.

The physical conditions of the suspects raised concerns over their detention and investigation circumstances, with local media suggesting that they were tortured during the interrogations. All appeared to be suffering from bruises and swollen faces; one of them was brought to court in a wheelchair, barely conscious, and another had a bandaged ear.

The attack on Crocus Hall was described as “the most severe terrorist incident” happening in Russia in the last two decades, leaving over 130 deaths in addition to material fatalities. The Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the day of March 24 as a day of national mourning. The terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Russian government did not confirm it, choosing not to comment on the matter.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that eleven suspects in total were detained in connection with the Crocus City Music Hall attack.