MOSCOW, March 14 (Itar-Tass) – A convicted Islamic militant said he did not know the Imarat Kavkaz members who are now on trial over the Domodedovo airport bombing. Khasu Batalov, who is serving a sentence for abetting an illegal paramilitary formation is a witness for the prosecution, spokeswoman for the Moscow regional court Anna Tyurina told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
"The witness confirmed he was a member of the gang led by Aslan Byutukayev, which was subordinate to Imarat Kavkaz, but denied knowing the defendants. He said he could not identify them as Imarat Kavkaz members," Tyurina said.
The witness also said all the participants in illegal paramilitary formations used Arab names they had selected themselves and that nobody knew their real names.
The next hearing is due on March 19. The prosecutor for the state will continue to present the evidence.
The defendants are Islam and Ilez Yandiyev, Akhmed Yevloyev and Bashir Khamkhoyev. They are accused of the commission of a terrorist attack, murder, attempted murder, illegal acquisition, keeping and carrying firearms, ammunition and explosives and illegal bomb-making.
According to the investigators, Magomed Yevloyev, 21, set off a bomb fastened to his belt at Domodedovo's arrivals hall at around 16:30, Moscow time, on January 24, 2011. Its yield was two to three kilograms of TNT. The bomb was filled with destructive agents such as metal fragments and bearing balls.
Thirty-seven people died and another 172 were injured in the blast.
"The investigators said the act of terror was organized by Imarat Kavkaz leader Doku Umarov; the gang led by Aslan Byutukayev and Supyan Abdullayev was subordinate to him. They chose Magomed Yevloyev as the suicide bomber.
In all, the criminal group included some 35 people.
On March 28, 2011, 17 militants were destroyed in a special operation in Ingushetia. Investigators ascertained the identity of 28 members of Imarat Kavkaz, involved in the Domodedovo bombing.
The investigators said the four defendants who are now on trial, helped Yevloyev travel from Ingushetia to Moscow where they leased an apartment for him, passed him the bomb, selected the scene of the terrorist attack and sent Yevloyev to the airport by taxi.