Russia has formally charged four individuals accused of attacking a Moscow concert hall and causing the deaths of at least 137 people.

A view shows the burning Crocus City Hall concert hall following the shooting incident in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, on March 22, 2024
A view shows the burning Crocus City Hall concert hall following the shooting incident in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, on March 22, 2024

Three of the accused were brought into a Moscow court while the fourth, in a wheelchair, also faced charges related to committing an act of terrorism.

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The Islamic State group (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack at Crocus City Hall, posting video evidence of the incident.

Russian officials have suggested Ukrainian involvement without evidence, although Kyiv has dismissed the claim as “absurd.”

The accused individuals, named by Russian authorities as Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, Saidakrami Murodali Rachabalizoda, Shamsidin Fariduni, and Muhammadsobir Fayzov, were all subjected to brutal treatment during interrogation sessions, with reports indicating instances of physical abuse and electric shocks.

During the court appearance, Mirzoyev and Rachabalizoda showed signs of physical trauma, including black eyes and bandaged injuries. Fariduni’s face was visibly swollen, and Fayzov appeared to have lost consciousness, with one eye reportedly missing.

All four individuals were held in a glass booth and guarded by masked police during the court proceedings.

According to a court statement, Mirzoyev and Rachabalizoda confessed to their involvement in the attack. The men were identified as citizens of Tajikistan.

The court ordered their pre-trial detention until at least 22 May.

The attack occurred when four gunmen stormed the Crocus City Hall during a rock concert, resulting in numerous casualties and injuries.

Russian authorities arrested the suspects in the Bryansk region, approximately 400km southwest of Moscow, around 14 hours after the attack.

IS claimed responsibility for the attack, releasing graphic footage of the assailants firing on the crowd.

However, Russian officials have not acknowledged IS’s claim and instead suggested Ukrainian involvement, a claim rejected by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the country’s military intelligence directorate.

In addition to the four suspects, seven other individuals have been arrested in Russia for allegedly aiding the attack.

IS-K, the branch responsible for the attack, operates in Afghanistan and Central Asia and has targeted Russia in the past due to various geopolitical factors, including Russia’s involvement in Syria and Afghanistan.

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