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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Deputy Accused In Dubai Murder

ReutersA Dubai police photo of the gold-plated handgun used to kill Yamadayev.��
Dubai police on Sunday accused State Duma Deputy Adam Delimkhanov of masterminding the assassination of former Chechen commander Sulim Yamadayev and said they would seek his arrest.

Delimkhanov, a first cousin of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and a former Chechen deputy prime minister, denied the allegation and criticized the police investigation as shoddy.

The Prosecutor General's Office said it would not extradite Delimkhanov.

Yamadayev, an enemy of Kadyrov, was shot dead near his Dubai home on March 28 in what police have described as the first political killing on Dubai soil.

The announcement that Delimkhanov has been implicated in the murder could have significant ramifications for Kadyrov, whose strong-arm tactics have been tolerated by the Kremlin because of the calm he has brought to Chechnya. Yamadayev's death is the latest in a series of murders of Kadyrov's foes in Turkey and Austria in recent months.

Kadyrov has denied involvement in Yamadayev's death and the other murders.

Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim said Sunday that two suspects, an Iranian and Tajik, have been arrested in connection with Yamadayev's murder, and three others, including the person who pulled the trigger, have fled to Russia.

"Our investigations found that Delimkhanov was the mastermind behind the assassination of Yamadayev," Tamim said in a statement.

He said one of the suspects in custody told police that Delimkhanov's guard provided him with the murder weapon, a gold-plated, Russian-made Makarov discarded by the killer. He showed a photo of the gun at a news conference in Dubai.

He said Chechen authorities did not cooperate with Dubai police during the investigation, and he denied Chechen media reports that an ultraconservative Arab Salafi group was behind Yamadayev's slaying.

"This murder was a pure Chechen operation, during which they were settling scores in Dubai," he said.

Tamim said he would seek Interpol's assistance to arrest Delimkhanov once the investigation was completed.

Delimkhanov denied involvement in the murder and said he was ready to cooperate with the Dubai police. "The police seem unable to conduct a proper investigation," Delimkhanov said, RIA-Novosti reported. He said the accusations were based on allegations by one of Yamadayev's brothers.

Yamadayev's brother Isa has accused Delimkhanov of masterminding the murder of a third Yamadayev brother, Ruslan, who was killed on a Moscow street in September. The Yamadayev family were once close allies of the Kadyrov clan but had a falling out.

The Prosecutor's General Office said Delimkhanov, who has immunity from prosecution as a Duma deputy, would not be extradited because the Constitution forbids the handing over of Russian citizens to foreign governments.
Chechnya's senator in the Federation Council, Ziyad Sabsabi, called the Dubai allegations "provocative and deceptive." "Such statements are aimed at destabilizing the situation inside Chechnya and in the south of Russia," he said, Itar-Tass reported.

Delimkhanov was appointed Chechen deputy prime minister in 2006, and he gave up the position the following year when he was elected to the Duma as a member of United Russia. Delimkhanov, 39, is deputy head of the Duma's Regional Affairs Committee.

As Chechen deputy prime minister, Delimkhanov personally supervised an operation to apprehend former Chechen commander Movladi Baisarov, an ally-turned-foe of Kadyrov who was killed on a Moscow street in 2006. Moscow prosecutors have said Baisarov died in a botched attempt by Chechen law enforcement officers to arrest him.

Dubai police initially detained about 20 Russian nationals in connection with Sulim Yamadayev's death at his luxury Jumeira Beach Residence, Kommersant reported last week.

All except one -- St. Petersburg businessman Maxim Dolgopolov, who was detained as a witness -- were released by Friday, Kommersant said. The police did not release Dolgopolov with the others because he had jokingly told a police officer that he was Russia's chief expert on terrorism, a friend of Dolgopolov told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, another Russian national has disappeared in Dubai after having been detained by police, Interfax reported Friday. Dmitry Legotin was traveling to Malaysia from Russia with a connection at the Dubai airport when he was detained by police who mistook his pain medicine for illicit drugs.

Police recognized their mistake and planned to release him to travel to Malaysia on March 28, but he was detained again together with the group of Russians suspected of possible involvement in Yamadayev's killing, Interfax said.