Swedish media: Uzbek murder attempt suspect detained in Russia

Suspect Zhukovskiy at Stockholm's Radisson Blue Viking hotel on 22 February; photo: Swedish police
Swedish media outlets today have spread the news that police in Russia have arrested Yuriy Zhukovskiy, the prime suspect in the attempt on Imam Obid-kori Nazarov’s life in Sweden.

Sweden’s tabloid Expressen reported that the suspect, Yuriy Zhukovskiy, was tracked down in Russia when he used his mobile phone that had been registered by Sweden’s police.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) detained him at the request of their Swedish counterparts. Expressen, referring to a source in police, reported that his extradition to Sweden was under arrangement at the moment.

Imam Obid-kori Nazarov received political asylum in Sweden in 2006 after many years of hiding from the Uzbek authorities, but was critically wounded outside his home in Stromsund on 22 February 2012.

The Swedish police made a list of suspects in the attempted murder of the imam, which was topped by a citizen of Uzbekistan and Russia, Yuriy Zhukovskiy, 35. According to investigation reports, he shot at the imam and left Sweden for Russia.

In May, a married couple from Uzbekistan, Bakhodyr Pulatov and Nodira Aminova, were arrested in Sweden. They were staying in Sweden on student visas. Aminova was studying at the University of Malmo.

The prosecutor in the case, Krister Petersson, was convinced that the couple had helped the killer to get to the future victim by renting a car and arranging accommodation for him.

Before the attempted murder, they had visited Stromsund and had even been in the imam’s mosque, but they explained their stay in this town by saying they lost their way.

On 26 July, the court of Stromsund acquitted the couple for a lack of evidence.

Prosecutor Petersson then said that he was “surprised” by the court decision and appealed against it soon, but he said it was hard to expect that Pulatov and Aminova would remain in Sweden because they would rather try to leave the country immediately.

The prosecutor has not yet commented on the news about the arrest of Yuriy Zhukovskiy.

Imam Obid-kori Nazarov has been in coma since the attempt on his life. Today Swedish police investigator Ulf Berg said that the hospital staff were not bothering the police because the patient “has not yet woken up” and could not give any evidence.

Relatives of the imam believe that Uzbek authorities, who have been practising physical elimination of their enemies and critics, are behind the attempted murder.