MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – Police in southern Russia have detained a second suspect in the recent murder of a Russian diplomat and his wife in Georgia’s breakaway republic of Abkhazia, a spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee said Monday.
Iskhan Sabanchiyev, 25, was apprehended in Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, on Friday and has been placed in custody, spokesman Vladimir Markin said. The first suspect in the murder case, Yusup Lakayev, was detained on September 9 by Georgian authorities, and the issue of his extradition to Russia is being “decided,” Markin added.
Dmitry Vishernyov, first secretary at the Russian Embassy in Sukhumi, was killed instantly by a gunshot to the head near the garage of his home in Abkhazia’s capital, Sukhumi. His wife, Olga, was badly wounded in the attack and died five days later.
Abkhazia broke away from Georgia following an ethnically tinged war in 1992-93, just after the Soviet collapse. More than a decade later, in 2008, Russia formally recognized the province as independent following a brief war over another disputed Georgian region, South Ossetia. Many Abkhaz now have Russian passports.
However, political violence has plagued Abkhazia. In February last year, the republic’s president, Alexander Ankvab, narrowly escaped a shooting and bomb attack on his motorcade.