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Saturday, July 02, 2005

 

Russian policeman jailed for not catching terrorists

From Kommersant:

The Domodedovo Court of the Moscow Region sentenced Thursday, June 30, former police captain Mikhail Artamonov to seven-year imprisonment. Artamonov failed to spot two Chechen shakhids, who let off bombs in Tu-134 and Tu-154 planes on August 24, 2004, having killed 98 people as a result. Mikhail Artamonov pled no guilty to the court.

The court hall was filled to capacity yesterday, mainly by the relatives and friends of Mikhail Artamonov. Only five relatives of 98 victims of the terror acts attended the hearing. Most of them have never believed in Artamonov’s guilt, saying the real party in fault is not the policeman but his direct bosses, who hadn’t properly arranged safety procedures in the airport, as well as East Line that manages it.

Nevertheless, judge Natalia Mishina declared Mikhail Artamonov guilty, saying he had failed to thoroughly search Satsit Dzhebirkhanova and Amanat Nagaeva, who arrived in Moscow from Makhachkala. The court decided Artamonov had ignored instructions to pay special attention to the Chechens, particularly to women from 20 to 40 years old.

"This performance with the criminal case against me was staged by the prosecutors not to bring to account the true guilty of tragedy. If the explosive device managed to find its way to board of the plane, it means the examination had not been properly arranged,” Artamonov said, having heard the verdict. “I have a feeling that I live somewhat in 1930s, when a man could have been pointed by finger and then “closed,”” Artamonov said.

Russia’s Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov called Artamonov guilty even before the trial. Ustinov said Artamonov had not searched the shakhids at all. But during the trial, it turned out Artamonov and other policemen had checked Dzhebirkhanova and Nagaeva but found no reasons for detention.

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