A verdict in the case of two Russian intelligence operatives charged with assassinating Chechen extremist Zelimkhan Yandarbiev in Qatar is now expected on June 8. According to a May 27 report on Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite television network, a lawyer for the two defendants said that court has ordered the two to appear before the Persian Gulf sheikhdom’s prosecutor general on that date.
Over the weekend, Russia’s security agencies successfully pressured the NTV television network to cut a taped interview with Yandarbiev’s widow, Kommersant reported on May 31. The outraged responses from Russian print and Internet journalists to this act of censorship included that of the Gazeta.ru website, which on May 31 firmly rejected the claim that the interview could have hurt the defendants’ chances in the Qatar trial. “The truth is that no interview with Mrs. Yandarbieva could have any effect in any way on the course or on the outcome of the trial,” wrote Gazeta.ru. “The Qatar security agencies which arrested the Russians and the Qatar court are not at all interested in Russian television, and they have their own collection of arguments which the Russian security agencies are trying to conceal from Russia’s own citizens.”