Chechen warlord's killers may win lower sentences

Victim Sulim Yamadayev's brother paves way for reprieve for pair given life sentences for assassination in Dubai

** FILE ** In this Sept. 16, 2007 file photo, Sulim Yamadayev, center, seen at Hankala airport, a military base outside Grozny, Chechnya, southern Russia. Yamadayev  bitter foe of the Moscow-backed leader of Chechnya has been shot and badly wounded in Dubai, Russian news reports said Monday.  The newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets said Sulim Yamadayev was attacked Saturday by an unidentified gunman near a luxury residential complex in Dubai where he lived. It quoted Yamadayev's brother as saying he was hospitalized with three gunshot wounds.(AP Photo) *** Local Caption ***  MOSB109_Russia_Dubai_Attack.jpg

DUBAI // The two men sentenced to life in prison for aiding and abetting the premeditated murder of the Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadayev have been given a reprieve by the victim's brother. Advocate Ali Madani, representing M H, 37, and Advocate Saeed al Ghailani, representing M J, 32, a Tajik national, told the Dubai Court of Appeal yesterday that they had reached an agreement with Isa Yamadayev, who chose to exercise his al Qasas right to reduce their sentence.

Al Qasas, a provision of Sharia, allows the relatives of murder victims two options, to seek the death penalty or to extend forgiveness to those convicted of the crime. The second option is often exercised in exchange for increased blood-money payments. Mr Yamadayev, a former Chechen rebel commander, was dismissed from his command of an elite Chechen battalion in 2008 and forced to flee the republic. He had been living in Dubai with his wife and six children since January 2009. Dubai Police said the former warlord survived multiple attempts on his life before he moved to the emirate to, reportedly, "retire".

Mr Yamadayev was returning home from Dubai International Airport on March 28, 2009, after a trip outside the country, when he was shot in the back three times in the underground car park of his home in Jumeirah Beach Residence.  Officials said nine men were involved in the assassination, including Adam Delimkhanov, the former Chechen deputy prime minister now a Russian MP. M H told prosecutors Mr Delimkhanov and another Chechen man followed Mr Yamadayev and surveyed the complex's basement parking area for 45 minutes, taking note of Mr Yamadayev's parking space.

M H and M J were arrested for the murder on April 3, 2009, and sentenced to life in prison by a lower court this April after an eight-month-long trial. According to the Public Prosecutor's charge sheet, police officers said the men confessed to their part in the plot.  Records show that M J admitted to agreeing to be part of the assassination when he was offered $100,000 (Dh367,000) by two men named Salman Kimayev and Tirpal Kimaev. The two men remain at large, along with five others who are on Interpol's wanted list as persons of interest in the Yamadayev murder case.

M H and M J both appealed against their sentences and public prosecution asked that the court implement al Qasas. Advocate Madani told the court yesterday that he was waiting for the family's representative to attest the agreement issued by them in Chechnya before he presents it to the court. "The document has to be attested at the Chechen public notary, then at their ministry of foreign affairs and the UAE embassy in Moscow before it can be presented to court," Mr Madani said.

He said negotiations had been continuing through the month of Ramadan and the agreement was reached only recently. Mr Madani did not disclose to the court if a monetary agreement was reached between his client and Isa Yamadayev. The court will reconvene on October 12 to review the case.