Sweden Closes Kidnapping Case Against Chechen Refugee
Russian daily newspaper Kommersant has reported that Swedish prosecutors have closed a more than six-year-old case against a Chechen refugee who was accused of kidnapping a Russian photographer.
Magomed Uspayev, who was living in Sweden under the name Maga Zakhiyev, was arrested in the southwestern city of Gothenburg on August 20, 2006 on the charge of disorderly conduct, and Swedish authorities asked Russia whether the documents that he presented were correct. The pro-Russian Chechen regime identified him from his photo as Magomed Uspayev and Russian officials immediately asked for his extradition, claiming that he kidnapped ITAR-TASS photographer, Vladimir Yatsina in Ingushetia in 1999. Russian investigators claim that Uspayev, who had reportedly agreed to guide Yatsina to Chechnya for a fee, handed the photographer over to a criminal group (Akhmedov brothers) upon his arrival in the North Caucasus. Vladimir Yatsina was murdered at some point in the following several months, according to various accounts. The Russian Prosecutor General asked to extradite Uspayev shortly after his arrest in Sweden, but the Swedish Ministry of Justice turned down the request in October 2007 because of a court decision which was against the extradition. However, in mid-November 2007, Swedish authorities re-opened his case due to the new request from the Russian Justice Minister Vladimir Ustanov. Since then, a joint investigation between Sweden and Russia has been going on. In March 2010, the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had asked for Magomed Uspayev’s extradition during his visit to Sweden.
On January 9, 2013, Matts Sallstrom, chief prosecutor in Gothenburg, told Kommersant that he closed the Uspayev case.
“We have no more reason to continue this investigation. Available materials do not provide any evidence that the suspect is indeed guilty of the alleged crime. It is assumed that further investigation could not provide any major change in the existing evidence base. However, if the Russian side produces critical evidence, then we can re-open the case,” said Chief Prosecutor Sallstrom.
*Text was written by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco