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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechen Accused of Killing for a Promotion

A Chechen police commander is suspected of leading a group of police officers and former rebels that killed two people and falsely accused them of being terrorists so he would get promoted, Vremya Novostei reported Thursday.

The suspect, Ruslan Asuyev, was promoted to the head of a department at a Grozny police station shortly after reporting that he and his colleagues had killed two suspected rebels in May 2005, the report said, citing sources in the Chechen prosecutor's office and the local branch of the Federal Security Service.

Two of his colleagues, Aslan Dzhamulayev and Adam Arsanukayev, also won promotions in the police force.

The two slain Chechens were Khamzat Gaitukiyev, 30, and a 20-year-old woman identified only by her first name, Madina. Both were Grozny residents.

The police officers said Gaitukiyev had tried to fire at them with a Kalashnikov rifle and Madina had planned a suicide bomb attack on a police patrol in Grozny. As proof, they planted a belt of explosives next to Madina's body and a Kalashnikov rifle next to Gaitukiyev's body.

In reality, however, the officers told Gaitukiyev that he could join the police force if he passed a test of firing at a car full of rebels with a Kalashnikov, Vremya Novostei said. The officers gave Gaitukiyev a broken Kalashnikov and pointed at a car, but he refused to fire and was subsequently killed and reported as a rebel.

The officers are suspected of kidnapping and shooting Madina and then placing an explosives belt next to her body before radioing other police patrols for assistance.

In addition to the three police officers, there were 10 other people in the group, including police officers and former rebels.

The group also is believed to have kidnapped several Chechens for ransom.

Nine members have been arrested, including Asuyev, while the others are being sought by police.

Prosecutors this week sent Asuyev's case to court. Dzhamulayev and Arsanukayev were tried, convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison each in March.

Human rights organizations have repeatedly accused both federal law enforcement officials stationed in Chechnya and local police of extrajudicial detentions and torture. Many officers in the police force are former rebels loyal to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Chechen prosecutor's office and local branch of the Federal Security Service could not be reached for comment Thursday.