Aleksandr Litvinenko, the former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) now living in the United Kingdom, shared with the pro-separatist “Chechenpress” website his thoughts about the current assassination trial in Qatar. Contrary to the claims of his former colleagues, Litvinenko insisted that the KGB continued to carry out killings in foreign countries right up to the end of the Soviet era. “Before each such action,” he said, “and also upon its completion, the head of the Soviet KGB personally reported on it to the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee. He received the authorization for it to be carried out – along with the money, diplomatic passports, weapons and all other items needed.” According to Litvinenko, the Party and KGB documents directly used the phrase “terrorist act” to describe their own operations of this kind. He said he had “no doubt” that the assassination in Qatar was personally authorized by Vladimir Putin and his minister of defense, Sergei Ivanov.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s trial of the two Russian intelligence operatives accused of assassinating Zelimkhan Yandarbiev has been continuing, with two prosecution witnesses testifying on April 25. Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on April 26 that Aslan Maskhadov had sent a personal representative, Usman Ferzauli, to take part in the trial. According to an April 26 account on the Strana.ru website, the trial is taking place behind closed doors rather than in public at the request of the lawyers for the defense. One of those lawyers, Dmitry Afanasiev, reiterated in an April 24 interview on Russian television his accusation that the Qatar authorities had used torture in their interrogation of the accused Russian intelligence operatives.