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Eighth Suspect in Moscow Attack Appears in Court, Rights Commissioner Warns on Torture

Alisher Kasimov, a suspect in the Crocus City Hall attack charged with providing accommodation to the four men accused of carrying out shooting in the concert hall, sits behind a glass wall of an enclosure for defendants in a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2024. Photo: Moscow City Court’s Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

Russia remanded in custody on Tuesday a Kyrgyzstan-born man suspected of involvement in Friday’s mass shooting at a Moscow concert hall, and sent investigators to Tajikistan to question the families of four men charged with carrying out the attack.

Eight suspects have now been remanded in pre-trial detention since gunmen sprayed concertgoers with bullets in the deadliest attack in Russia in two decades, days after President Vladimir Putin celebrated an election that handed him a fifth term.

Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility and released footage from the attack. The United States and France say intelligence suggests the group was indeed behind the attack, in which 139 people were killed and 182 wounded.

Putin said on Monday the attack had been carried out by Islamic terrorists but also suggested that Ukraine, which is at war with Russia, may have played a role. Ukraine has denied any role.

The militants have not identified any of the attackers.

Russia has said the four suspected gunmen have confessed, but some showed signs of injuries when they appeared in court, raising concern they had been tortured.

Russia’s commissioner for human rights said detention of suspects should be carried out in accordance with the law, TASS news agency reported, after videos were published showing the interrogation of the suspects. One had part of his ear cut off during questioning.

“It is absolutely unacceptable to use torture on detainees and defendants,” the commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, was quoted as saying by TASS.

Russian authorities have said they are investigating.

SPOTLIGHT ON CENTRAL ASIA

The arrests have cast a spotlight on two mainly Muslim former Soviet republics in central Asia that have close ties with Moscow and depend on remittances from migrant laborers working in Russia.

Three Tajik sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Russian investigators were in Tajikistan questioning the families of the four suspected gunmen, saying their relatives had been brought to the capital Dushanbe from their home towns.

On Tuesday, Putin said he hoped prosecutors would do everything to ensure the attackers would be justly punished.

Kyrgyzstan-born Alisher Kasimov, remanded in custody on Tuesday, was led into the court room bent double — like the other suspects — before his handcuffs were removed. He showed no visible signs of injury.

He is accused of providing accommodation to the four Tajik men accused of carrying out the attack.

The Tajik sources said Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon was personally overseeing the Tajik part of the investigation into the Moscow attack, which he said was a “terrible and shameful event.”

Russian investigators say that after firing from Kalashnikov AK-47 weapons, the attackers set fire to the building with gasoline before leaving, hitting a family with two young children as they sped out of the car park.

Earlier this month, Rakhmon said his government was alarmed by the activity of radical Islamist preachers who were “brainwashing” Tajik youths, making them susceptible to manipulation by foreign groups and intelligence agencies.

MOTIVE IS NOT CLEAR

The motive for the attack is not clear. Russia, along with the United States and Syrian forces, played a major role in defeating Islamic State in Syria.

Driven out of Syria, its fighters scattered and different branches emerged, including an Afghan branch, ISIS-Khorasan, which seeks a caliphate across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Iran.

Sanaullah Ghafari, the 29-year-old leader of the Afghan branch of Islamic State, has overseen its transformation into one of the most fearsome branches of the global Islamist network, capable of operations far from its bases in the borderlands of Afghanistan.

Alexander Bortnikov, the director of Russia’s FSB security service, said the number of accomplices in the attack would be larger than the 11 reported to have already been detained, and that Western intelligence services and Ukraine needed the attack to “sow panic” in Russia.

RIA news agency quoted Bortnikov as saying Ukrainian intelligence services had contributed to the attack, and that it was “known” that Ukraine had trained militants in the Middle East.

Bortnikov was also quoted as saying Russian intelligence services had reacted to the US warning, but that it had been of a general nature. He suggested Western intelligence services and Ukraine had “needed” the attack, hoping it would create panic in Russian society.

Russia’s prosecutor general called it a new challenge to the entire law enforcement system.

Close Putin ally Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said Ukraine was “of course” behind the attack, after days of indirect suggestions from Moscow that Kyiv was to blame.

The Kremlin refused to be drawn on whether it believed there was a link between the Ukrainian leadership and Friday’s attack, saying only that its investigation was ongoing.

The post Eighth Suspect in Moscow Attack Appears in Court, Rights Commissioner Warns on Torture first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

The post Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

The post Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023 first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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