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Qatar emir has made his choice

The future of the two Russian special servicemen accused by Qatar authorities of assassinating Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, is still uncertain.
On February 27 there were reports that official charges of murder had been brought against them. The legal hearing will be made public, Arab media reported. There is an impression that Qatar authorities intend to conduct a show trial.

Meanwhile, the court sentence can be extremely severe, even death penalty. Several days after Yandarbiev’s death Qatar authorities quickly passed the law on fighting terrorism, and this law makes the provision of death penalty for organizing a group to conduct a terrorist act.

Assassination of Yandarbiev has been called “the first terrorist act in the Qatar’s history”. In a Kommersant interview a Russian expert on the Middle East said that there had been no crimes in Qatar at all. Therefore one can understand why the murder of Yandarbiev has shocked this country. Qatar police was not ready for this.

Interestingly, all information from Qatar is from anonymous sources. According to Kommersant newspaper, after pulling the dead bodies of Yandarbiev and his bodyguard out of the exploded vehicle, the policemen were just standing and watching how the vehicle was burning. Then they questioned some of the witnesses who were around, and left.

No raids, checking documents on the highways, in Qatar air- and sea-ports. Nevertheless, the suspects were arrested several hours after the explosion.

Such “professionalism” raises questions – if Qatar police was so non-professional on the crime scene, how could it obtain information that the Russian special servicemen had been involved in the crime?  Certainly, the version of killing Yandarbiev by Russian special services was brought into being immediately after the vehicle explosion. However, Russian authorities deny such allegations.

Former envoy of Chechen militant leader Aslan Maskhadov, Mairbek Vachagaev (he has close relations with Yandarbiev’s family) said in a Kommersant interview that special services of some other countries, the US in particular, could provide assistance to the investigation.  This can be true because the USA and Qatar has close political and military ties. However, Yandarbiev could be killed for the reason of the conflict between different groups of Chechen militants. He was a treasurer for Chechen rebels. Chechen terrorists will conceal the fact of their conflict because they do not want to undermine their reputation before their foreign sponsors.

Moscow requested Qatar authorities many times to hand to Russia Yandarbiev who was considered as one of the key organizers of the terrorist capturing Dubrovka Musical Teater in Moscow. However, Yandarbiev was a personal guest of emir Khamad bin Khalifa and had no problem with Qatar authorities.

No doubt – we cannot expect objective investigation of the murder of Yandarbiev. Qatar authorities seem to find the people to accuse of this crime. There is no proof, and the real killers will not be detected. This can result in worsening the relations between Russia and many Arabic countries. Some people and states can benefit from this….