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Eighth suspect in Moscow attack appears in court

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
A woman lays flowers on the roadside in front of the burnt-out Crocus City Hall, Moscow. — Reuters
A woman lays flowers on the roadside in front of the burnt-out Crocus City Hall, Moscow. — Reuters
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MOSCOW: 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.


IS 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 IS members but also suggested that Ukraine, which is at war with Russia, may have played a role. Ukraine has denied any role.


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


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


Three Tajik sources said 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.


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. — Reuters


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