30 Jan 2019 19:32

Rauf Arashukov may have been involved in 2 more killings - lawyer for aggrieved parties

MOSCOW. Jan 30 (Interfax) - Rauf Arashukov, the senator from Karachayevo-Cherkessia who was deprived of immunity by the Federation Council on Wednesday and who is charged with organizing two murders, may have been involved in another two killings, Ilya Lebedev, a lawyer for the aggrieved parties, told Interfax.

The Investigative Committee said earlier that Arashukov was involved in two murders that took place in 2010: that of Aslan Zhukov, the deputy head of the public youth movement Adyge Khase and that of advisor to the head of Karachaveyo-Cherkessia Fral Shebzukhov.

"According to sources close to the investigation, Rauf Arashukov may have been involved in the organization of the killings of another two persons besides the two mentioned in Karachaveyo-Cherkessia: that of Khasan Dzhanayev, the former head of a Cherkessk detention facility, and Ali Afaunov, a security guard of the head of the Russian presidential administration, Nazir Khapsirokov [now deceased]," Lebedev said.

There is information that Rauf Arashukov's father Raul Arashukov is suspected of masterminding the killing of Donetsk businessman Boris Khapsirokov in the late 1990s, Lebedev said.

The pivotal moment in the investigation into the high-profile 2010 killings was the detention in December 2017 of Rustam Kopsergenov, who confessed that Rauf Arashukov had asked him to organize the killing of Fral Shebzukhov.

"Arashukov himself linked Kopsergenov's testimony to the actions of Vyacheslav Derev, former senator from Karachayevo-Cherkessia, and some Russian Interior Ministry officials, and Rauf Arashukov organized Vyacheslav Derev's arrest in March 2018 in connection with a criminal case opened six years before," Lebedev said.

"While Derev was in detention, the victims' relatives called for an objective trial of the criminal cases and the prosecution of Arashukov," he said.

In August 2018, the perpetrator of the killing of Aslan Zhukov turned himself in and confessed that the killing had been ordered by Rauf Arashukov. "By the way, the perpetrators of the Shebzukhov killing have testified about the involvement of Rauf Arashukov in organizing the killing much earlier," the lawyer said.

When the victims' relatives learned about the visit to Karachayevo-Cherkessia of Russian Investigative Committee Director Alexander Bastrykin in August 2018, the had the criminal cases opened on the basis of the killings sent to the central administration of the Investigative Committee and an objective investigation began.

"The solution of the killings committed by Arashukov became possible only thanks to the principled position of Vyacheslav Derev, former senator from Karachayevo-Cherkessia, and the principled position of the relatives of Fral Shebzukhov and Aslan Zhukov," Lebedev said.

"The victims' relatives are thankful for the objective investigation into the criminal case against Arashukov, but justice cannot be considered to be fully restored as long as Vyacheslav Derev, who was framed by Arashukov, is in custody in serious condition," he said.

Ruslan Koblev, a lawyer for Derev, told Interfax he is concerned about the health of his client, who is 70 and is kept in custody in serious condition while indications of framing have been found in his case.

"We have reported the falsifications to Investigate Committee Director Alexander Bastrykin and we hope for an appropriate reaction," Koblev said.

He would not comment on Arashukov's detention.