Ibrahimjon Ermatov. Photo courtesy of The Insider
“The FSB Let the Terrorist Slip, and a Terrible Tragedy Happened”: Man Accused of Planning Terrorist Attack in Petersburg Subway Calls Case Frame-Up
November 2, 2019
Ibrahimjon Ermatov, accused of planning a terrorist attack in the St. Petersburg subway, declared his innocence and called the case a frame-up in a letter that has been made available to The Insider.
“Unfortunately, our case is a frame-up. The FSB let the terrorist slip, and a terrible tragedy happened. To vindicate themselves somehow, they ‘exposed a gang of terrorists,” that is, us,” Ermatov writes.
“We are ordinary people, just like you. And we did not come here […] for the fun of it. There is no work at home, no way to feed our families. We are hardworking, we don’t drink or smoke, we don’t break the laws, we only work and work,” he writes. “I’m now twenty-six. I could be sentenced to ten years, at least, for something I didn’t do. That is, I will spend half my life in prison.”
“We simply have no rights here and can be easily manipulated. The FSB has taken advantage of this,” Ermatov notes.
Ibrahimjon Ermatov’s letter. Courtesy of The Insider. “Hello, Yevgenia! Thanks, guys, that you have not forgotten me. I am very touched. Unfortunately, our case is a frame-up. The FSB let the terrorist slip, and a terrible tragedy happened. To vindicate themselves somehow, they ‘exposed a gang of terrorists,’ that is, us. We are ordinary people, just like you. And we did not come here to the big common motherland of the USSR for the fun of it. There is no work at home, no way to feed our families. We are hardworking, we don’t drink or smoke, we don’t break the laws, we only work and work. I’m now twenty-six. I could be sentenced to ten years, at least, for something I didn’t do. That is, I will spend half my life in prison. Unfortunately, there is the opinion in Russia that we immigrants from Central Asias are like the characters Ravshan and Jamshut in [the Russian TV comedy show] Our Russia. This is wrong, and ordinary Russians understand this. We simply have no rights here and can be easily manipulated. The FSB has taken advantage of this. [They think] Who would believe them (that is, us)? I would again like to thank you and all the people who care about our situation. I would have perished with you. May Allah be with you.”
On April 17, 2017, an explosion occurred on a subway train traveling between the stations Sennaya Ploshchad and Tekhnologichesky Institut. Sixteen people were killed, and over a hundred people were injured. According to investigators, the bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber, 22-year-old Akbarjon Jalilov. Eleven people were arrested and charged with planning the attack. The FSB abducted three of the defendants before formally arresting them. They tortured the men in an attempt to force them to confess. One of these men was Ermatov’s brother Muhamadusup. None of the defendants pleaded guilty.
Prosecutors have claimed the terrorist group Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad was behind the attack. However, there is no corraborated evidence that the group claimed responsibility for the blast or made demands.
You can read more about the case in the following articles [in Russian]:
You can also find more information on the website created by a pressure group that has been publicizing the case.
Thanks to Yana Teplitskaya for the heads-up. Translated by the Russian Reader. Please read my previous posts on the terrorist attack, the case against its alleged planners, its roots in the Islamophobia that has infected Russia under Putin, and the shocking lack of international solidarity with Ermatov and the other twelve defendants 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 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
“Binoculars,” a sketch featuring the fictional Central Asian migrant workers Ravshan and Jamshut on the Russian TV comedy show Our Russia