Russian media contributed to the severe sentence of Qatar court for the two Russians suspected of assassinating ex-President of Chechnya Zelimkhan Yandarbiev.
On June 30 the two Russians were sentenced to life imprisonment by Qatar court. Earlier, on June 8 Qatar office of public prosecutor requested death penalty for them. Meanwhile, the defendants’ lawyers said that the Russians had been tortured and forced to slander themselves.
Russian authorities did their best to protect our citizens in Qatar. On June 11 the spokesman for Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko said that “Moscow is still making efforts to release the two Russians”. Meanwhile, Russian media wrote that the men pleaded guilty of assassinating Yandarbiev and disclosed the details of the murder.
I am not going the ethical aspect of similar statements of the press. It will be enough to recall the attempt of NTV senior reporter Leonid Parfenov to broadcast the interview with the wife of the international terrorist Yandarbiev. Another bad thing was arrival of Chechen militants’ leader Aslan Maskhadov spokesman, Akhmed Zakaev in Qatar on June 30. Grani.ru online newspaper wrote that one of the Chechen militant leaders considered the legal hearing as bigger event than “seeking the truth and punishing criminals”, as the defendants are the Russian special service officers following the orders of their government. The terrorist concludes, “Consequently, Russian authorities are tried in court along with the two men”.
Probably there is still a chance that Qatar authorities can hand the two prisoners to Russia. However, this possibility is less likely than it used to be, especially after the reports like the Kommersant did. This newspaper wrote that Qatar emir and Russian President had a conversation and agreed on the legal hearing outcome.
It goes without saying that Qatar court was pressed by separatists and radical Islamic groups. More than 20 Russian and foreign “human rights activists” signed the letter to Qatar emir with the request to punish the Russian prisoners strictly. The letter authors called the emir not to follow the Kremlin’s requests. Was it right of Russian press to let down the two prisoners? Maybe reporters are going to give a chance to Osama bin Laden to speak out about the case?