19 Feb 2020 21:12

Teenage terror suspects characterized positively - Crimean children's ombudsman

SIMFEROPOL. Feb 19 (Interfax) - Two teenagers who are charged with plotting terror attacks at schools in Kerch have been characterized positively overall, Crimean children's commissioner Irina Klyuyeva said.

"Neither of them had a sharply negative characterization. They were not under the radar of law enforcement, or on file, or spotted doing anything untoward," Klyuyeva told Interfax on Wednesday after a trip to Kerch.

She said that one of them, a college student, had been described to her only positively.

"All feedback is very good, the parents are cooperating with the college, always keen, respond; they are not indifferent. The guy himself has also been characterized positively and the situation he found himself in has baffled teachers and classmates," Klyuyeva said.

The second young man, a high school student, experienced some "hardships in life." "There are problems in the family; one member is ill. Perhaps it was because the parents got so wrapped up in that situation and stopped paying attention to the boy, which pushed him aside. In class he was not very communicable either," Klyuyeva said.

A juveniles commission met in Kerch on Wednesday, after which the ombudsman concluded that the "prophylactic bodies are not cooperating very closely."

On February 17, security officers foiled an attempt to stage terror attacks at two schools by local residents, born 2003 and 2004, who, according to the Federal Security Service (FSB), were supporters of extremist ideology and looked up to 18-year-old Vladislav Roslyakov who was involved in the killing of 20 people at a Kerch polytechnic in 2018.

According to the FSB, the teenagers plotted armed attacks, having found bomb recipes and the buildings' layouts online. Searches of their home addresses led to the seizure of improvised explosive devices containing shrapnel. The devices had been tested on pet animals. The investigators also found that the young men were administrators of "death groups" on social-networking websites, whose users they had attempted to induce to commit similar crimes

The teenagers have been charged with "preparation for an act of terrorism by a group of accomplices." A special team from the Crimean branch of the Russian Investigative Committee is examining their family backgrounds and social circles and has appealed for witnesses to come forward.

The Crimean education ministry has launched an overall inquiry. According to the authorities, one is a 9th grade student at school No. 15, while the other is from the Kerch naval technical college.

The abovementioned incident in Kerch took place on October 17, 2018. Roslyakov, 18, a fourth-year student of Kerch Polytechnical College, went on a shooting spree with a pump-action shotgun and set off an improvised explosive device stuffed with nails and bolts, after which he killed himself. The attack left 20 people dead, including 15 students and five staff members, and some 50 others were injured. Investigators first opened a criminal case on charges of terrorist attack but then requalified the charges to "murder of two or more individuals using a publicly dangerous method."