Two Russians were sentenced by a Swedish court on Monday to lengthy prison sentences for attempting to murder one of Chechnya’s most popular bloggers with a hammer while he was sleeping, OCCRP reported.
According to a copy of the court verdict seen by OCCRP, the two defendants, Elmira Chapiaeva and Ruslan Mamaev, will be jailed for eight and ten years respectively, face permanent deportation from Sweden, and have to pay fines for damages to the victim.
The targeted blogger, Tumso Abdurakhmanov, is a prominent critic of Chechen authorities, and uses his YouTube channels, which have several hundred thousand subscribers, to discuss what he describes as a corrupt regime that has also committed human rights violations.
Abdurakhmanov fled Russia in 2015 after receiving threats in Chechnya for criticizing its strongman leader, Ramzan Kadyrov – whose regime has been accused of being “systematically engaged in abduction-style detentions, enforced disappearances, torture, extrajudicial executions, and collective punishment,” according to Human Rights Watch.
He was attacked in his home in the Swedish town of Gävle on February 26th 2020, but managed to fight off his assailant.
“After a few hits on my head, I managed to grab his hair with my left hand, and poked his eye with my right thumb. He screamed. We both fell on the floor. As we were fighting, I saw the hammer on the floor. He probably let it off. That’s when I got hold of it and started hitting him with a handle of the hammer,” Abdurakhmanov told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) a couple weeks after the attack.
He added that he has since recovered from some minor injuries, and that he is still trying to process what happened.
“I have a few stitches on my head and lip,” he said in his interview with CPJ.
The blogger managed to film and upload most of what ensued, where his attacker – now identified as Ruslan Mamaev – admitted to having been sent from Moscow, and that they had held his mother hostage. Abdurakhmanov says this was not true.