MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti) – A man accused of planning to kill President Vladimir Putin ahead of last year’s presidential elections alleged in court on Thursday that he had been tortured into confessing to the plot.
Russian national Adam Osmayev, 32, told a court in the city of Odessa in southern Ukraine he had been exposed to “physical and psychological” torture.
Osmayev, who hails from the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, was detained by Ukrainian special services in February 2012 during a raid on an apartment in Odessa.
“They said they would chop my penis off and put it in my mouth. Then they covered my head with a plastic bag. They told me they had my father and stepmother as hostages, and they would be arrested if I didn’t confess,” he told the British newspaper The Independent in an interview earlier this month.
Osmayev is charged with planning to kill Putin on the orders of Doku Umarov, the leader of a radical Islamist group in the North Caucasus region. Investigators say he and two other men planned to drive cars laden with explosives into Putin’s motorcade.
The alleged plot - which the Russian authorities announced less than a fortnight before Russia went to the polls - was widely dismissed by analysts and opposition figures as a ploy to boost Putin’s rating ahead of the March 2012 presidential elections. The Russian authorities maintain there was a viable plot to kill Putin.
Osmayev is also accused of plotting to kill Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed former militant who now rules the volatile republic.
Russia had unsuccessfully attempted to have Osmayev extradited to Moscow.
One of his alleged fellow plotters, Ruslan Madayev, was killed when an improvised explosive device went off in an apartment in Odessa early last year, while another, Ilya Pyanzin, was arrested and confessed to the plot, investigators say.
Osmayev also told the court he had been an assistant to Russian lawmaker “Cherenkov” up until 2008, when he fled Russia over what he said was politically motivated persecution. RIA Novosti and other Russian media outlets have been unable to find any mention of a State Duma deputy with this surname. Osmayev also said he had been living in Ukraine as part of a witness protection program.
The son of Aslanbek Osmayev, who was responsible for Chechnya’s oil resources in the early 1990s, Adam Osmayev studied at a private British school in 1994, when he was a teenager.
His father also alleged to The Independent that the allegations against his son stem from an oil dispute.