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Four men with signs of severe beating charged with terrorism by Moscow court in Crocus City Hall case

Moscow’s Basmanny District Court has ordered four defendants in the case of the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall to be held in pre-trial custody until May 22, according to a statement issued by the court’s press service.

The four men were identified as Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, 32, Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, 30, Shamsidin Fariduni, 25, and Mukhammadsobir Faizov, 19.

In court, Mirzoyev, Rachabalizoda and Fariduni showed signs of severe bruising, including swollen faces, while Faizov was brought to court from a hospital in a wheelchair and sat with his eyes closed throughout the proceedings. Medics attended to him in court, where he wore a hospital gown and trousers and had multiple cuts.

Rachabalizoda also had a heavily bandaged ear.

On Saturday, a video depicting the Russian security services torturing a Crocus City Hall terrorism suspect — and cutting off his ear — made the rounds on social media.

In the footage, an man in camouflage forcefully pins the detained suspect, who is lying on his stomach, to the ground with a knee while forcibly placing a piece of the severed ear into his mouth.

Photos: Alexandra Astakhova / Mediazona

The men — all of whom are citizens of Tajikistan — were charged with committing a group terrorist attack resulting in the death of others. The offence carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Mirzoev and Rachabalizoda have both pleaded guilty, the court's press service said.

The court sessions for all four defendants were held behind closed doors at the request of the investigation.

The terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall, a mall and music venue northwest of Moscow, took place on the evening of March 22. At least 137 people (including 3 children) were killed after four masked and camouflaged gunmen opened fire on the people gathered at the venue.

The list of those injured in the attack currently counts 182 names.

The attack took place before the start of a concert by the band “Picnic.” At the time of the shooting, up to 6,200 people could have been in the building, as almost all tickets for the concert were sold out.

In the afternoon of March 23, the Kremlin’s press service reported that the director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Alexander Bortnikov, informed Vladimir Putin about the arrest of 11 people, including four direct perpetrators of the terrorist attack.

Russian authorities, including President Vladimir Putin, claim that the suspects in the attack were planning to flee to Ukraine and accused Kyiv of assisting the terrorists.

Ukrainian authorities deny these allegations. Several Western media outlets, such as CNN and The New York Times, have reported that the attack could have been organized by the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, Islamic State Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K.

The publications note that the group itself claimed responsibility and refer to its statement on social media. Russian propagandists, however, have dismissed these reports as “fake.”

The Bot Blocker project has reported that the Kremlin’s bot network, Doppelgänger, has been active in spreading articles claiming ISIS had nothing to do with the Crocus City Hall attack and pointing fingers at the U.S., UK, and Kyiv.

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