Abror Azimov, sentenced to life in prison for Petersburg subway bombing, disappears during transfer: there has been no news of him for a month
November 2, 2021
Abror Azimov, sentenced to life imprisonment in the case of the Petersburg subway bombing, has disappeared on his way to a penal colony. The convicted man’s father Ahral Azimov has told The Insider that nothing has been known about his whereabouts for over a month.
In mid-September, Abror Azimov was allegedly transferred from the Crosses pre-trial detention center in Petersburg. By verdict of the court, he was to be delivered to a high-security penal colony. The other defendants in the case have already been taken to various penitentiary facilities, including Abror’s brother Akram Azimov.
The last time Abror Azimov telephoned his parents was on September 14 from the Crosses. He said then that all the other defendants in the case had been transferred, and suggested that he would probably be transferred soon, too, the convict’s father said.
According to Petersburg philologist Elena Efros, who has been corresponding with Azimov, the last letter she received from him was from the Butyrka pre-trial detention center in Moscow on September 29, the day he was sent to the next transit prison. “There he writes that he would let me or his father know as soon as he arrived, but so far we’ve heard nothing,” Efros said.
Abror’s father sent several appeals to the authorities asking them to inform him which colony his son was sent to. On October 26, a response came from the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service office for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, in which they claim that the wardens at Pre-Trial Detention Center No. 1 (The Crosses) had sent a letter to the convicted man’s father informing him about the place where his son was serving his sentence. Ahral Azimov says he has not received any letter. In this regard, he submitted an appeal to the prosecutor’s office, requesting they conduct an inquiry.
Abror Azimov’s lawyer Jargalma Dorzhiyeva told The Insider that she also has no information about his whereabouts. “I have no information about where Azimov is. Currently, I only have his consent to file a cassation appeal,” the lawyer said.
In December 2019, Azimov was sentenced to life in prison. His brother Akram Azimov and another defendant in the case, Muhamadusup Ermatov, were sentenced to 28 years in a maximum-security penal colony. Eight more defendants were sentenced to prison term of up to 19 years. All of them denied any wrongdoing, and four of them, including Abror and Akram Azimov, reported that they had been brutally tortured.
The blast on the line between the subway stations Sennaya Ploshchad and Tekhnologicheskii Institut occurred on 3 April 2017. Sixteen people were killed and fifty more were [hospitalized].
Abror Azimov reported that he and Akram were abducted and tortured in a secret FSB prison in the Moscow Region before their official detention. During the trial, he testified that he had been tortured into confessing to organizing the terrorist attack. The other defendants in the case have also repeatedly stated that they had nothing to do with the terrorist attack. All of them had come to Russia at different times to earn money: they worked on construction sites, in cafes and as taxi divers. At one of the first hearings in the trial, they pressed sheets of paper against the glass of the cage on which they had written “We were framed,” “We are not guilty,” and “You will see that there is nothing on us.”
Read more about this case in The Insider article “‘My brother’s screams were audible from the next cell’: torture, secret FSB prisons and falsification of evidence in the case of the terrorist attack in the Petersburg subway.”
Translated by the Russian Reader. Please read my previous posts on the presumed terrorist attack in the Petersburg subway, the case against its alleged “financiers and planners,” its roots in the Islamophobia that has infected Russia under Putin, and the shocking lack of local and international solidarity with the eleven Central Asian migrant workers scapegoated and convicted in the case.
- “Terrorism in Petersburg: Then and Now,” 4 April 2017
- “Instant Pariahs, or, Fontanka Declares Jihad on Everyone Who Looks Funny,” 5 April 2017
- “A Rainbow May Day in Petersburg vs. the Dead in Chechnya,” 1 May 2017
- “The Strange Investigation of a Strange Terrorist Attack,” 12 February 2018
- “Framed?” 7 April 2019
- “My Generation,” 6 May 2019
- “Yana Teplitskaya: Can Torture Be Endured?” 3 June 2019
- “They Are Who They Are,” 10 June 2019
- “3 April 2017 (website),” 26 June 2019
- “Ibrahimjon Ermatov: ‘The FSB Let the Terrorist Slip, and a Terrible Tragedy Happened,’” 3 November 2019
- “Prosecutor Asks for Life in Prison for Four Defendants in Petersburg Show Trial,” 18 November 2019
- “Jenya Kulakova: A Letter from Dilmurod,” 25 February 2020
- “Shohista Karimov: Convicted of Someone Else’s Crime,” 6 December 2020