Caucasus region, News

Russia asks Georgia to extradite suspect in diplomat’s murder

by | Sep 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch–A Russian citizen from Chechnya who was recently detained for a shooting in Batumi is a suspect in the murder of a Russian diplomat in Abkhazia.

The information comes from the de facto General Prosecutor of Abkhazia.

According to Russian media, the Russian investigative committee set up to investigate the murder of the diplomat Dimitry Vishernev and his wife, has asked Georgia to extradite the murder suspect Yusuf Lakayev to Russia. The committee conveyed the request through Swiss diplomats.

Head of the press office of Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office told DF Watch that Georgia hasn’t received any information about the extradition request yet.

“If we receive this request, it will be a subject of discussion whether to extradite him or not,” Khatuna Paichadze, head of the Orosecutor’s Uffice press office told us.

Dimitry Vishernev, First Secretary of the Russian de facto Embassy to Abkhazia, was shot in his car on September 9 in Sukhumi. His wife was also wounded during the shooting and died a few days later in hospital.

The de facto Prosecutor’s Office of Abkhazia claims that the killer first attempted to attack the couple with an improvised explosive device, but it failed to detonate. Then he used a nine caliber gun.

Lakayev was detained in Batumi on September 13, along with two Georgians who are suspected of aiding him.

Later it was also reported that Lakayev is on a list of persons and grounps considered a threat to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

According to Russian media, Lakayev, who was born in 1988 in Chechnya, was arrested for supporting an illegal armed unit and was released on May 6, 2011.

The de facto Prosecutor’s Office of Abkhazia and Russian law enforcers investigated the murder of the Russian diplomat, but none of them have indicated what the motive could have been.

Russian media mention two possible reasons for murder: According to one theory, Vishernev was murdered in relation with a contract which the Russian embassy to Abkhazia had about large scale construction project. Another theory is that it may have been related to the Russian businessman Sergey Klemantovich, who went missing last year. Vishernev was engaged in the search for Klemantovich.

Mamuka Areshidze, a commentator specializing in Caucasus issues, tells DF Watch that the launch of a murder investigation into Vishernev’s death makes him think that Abkhazia is attempting to achieve two goals: to blame everything on the Caucasus emirate leadership and to blame Georgia for the crime, because Lakayev was hiding in Georgia.

Areshidze also says he doesn’t trust the investigation of the Russian diplomat’s death, because ‘the stated details raise too many questions.’

“I really doubt that Lakayev was engaged in the murder of Vishernev. The only possibility is that this person as a fighter might have been hired by someone to carry out the murder. But in this case, not only the emirate but also Georgia have nothing to do with it,” Areshidze says.



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