A man who was held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba has been detained on suspicion of involvement in attacks on police last month in southern Russia, a senior prosecutor said Friday.
Relatives and lawyers confirmed that Rasul Kudayev, a Russian who was released from Guantanamo last year, had been detained and insisted the charges have been fabricated.
Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel said witnesses, along with Kudayev’s own confessions, confirmed his involvement in preparing and carrying out the Oct. 13 attacks on government and law enforcement offices in Nalchik, the capital of the troubled Kabardino-Balkariya region.
At least 139 people died in the nearly simultaneous daytime assaults on law enforcement offices, including the 94 accused attackers, according to official tallies. Shepel said more than 40 people have been detained on suspicion of involvement.
Alexandra Zernova, a lawyer for Kudayev, said that her client was physically too weak to participate in the attacks and said he had been tortured into confessing.
Kudayev was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay after being captured in Afghanistan and linked to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a terror group with alleged ties to al-Qaida. Since his release last year, he and his family have been repeatedly harassed by police, said his mother, Fatimat Takayeva.
Shepel also said that Ruslan Nakhushev, a respected Islamic expert and well-known government critic who has been missing since being questioned by security officers Nov. 4, has been charged with instigating the attack.
Kabardino-Balkariya is one of several North Caucasus regions that has long been plagued by endemic corruption and violence — some of it stemming from criminal gang feuds and some spilling over from nearby Chechnya.