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Mastermind of St. Petersburg Metro Admits Participating ‘Unknowingly’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Abror Azimov, 26, appeared in court on Monday charged with masterminding the St. Petersburg atrocity. Reuters

Moscow- The man accused of masterminding the Saint Petersburg train bombing that killed 14 people has denied the accusations pressed against him.

Russian authorities on Monday announced the arrest of Abror Azimov, one of the alleged masterminds behind the recent terror attack on the St. Petersburg’s metro system.

He allegedly trained Kyrgyz suicide bomber Akbarzhon Jalilov and instructed him to carry out the attack on April 3.

Azimov was arrested in the Moscow metropolitan area and was transferred to the headquarters of Russia’s Investigative Committee to be interrogated.

Dramatic video released Tuesday showed Russian officers grabbing Azimov and wrestling him to the ground in Odintsovo, a city just outside Moscow.

Footage showed the officers finding what appears to be a pistol loaded with four bullets in the back of Azimov’s jeans.

He was also found to be carrying a new phone in a plastic carrier bag.

The preliminary investigation has established that Azimov was in touch with the perpetrator of the bombing, an arrest warrant announced in court said, according to Interfax.

“Jalilov called the suspected organizers of the attack and their accomplices, including Azimov, by mobile phone,” the court said.

Azimov’s lawyer had earlier told reporters that his client “fully confessed” to being behind the blast, which happened two weeks ago.

At a court hearing Monday to formally arrest him, Azimov admitted indirect “involvement” in the attack but denied organizing it.

“I do not oppose being arrested. But I did not say that I was involved in the blast,” Azimov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

“There was some involvement by me, but not direct. I was given an order. I did not understand that I was taking part in terrorist activity.”

Alleged bomber Djalilov is suspected of triggering a homemade explosive device that tore through a metro carriage as it was passing through a tunnel between stations.

Eight people suspected of involvement in the St. Petersburg terrorist attack have been detained in April, according to the Russian Investigative Committee. Six were arrested in St. Petersburg and two others in Moscow.

Azimov bought two new mobile phones and Sim cards on Monday, but gave away his location when he activated one of the cards, newspaper Kommersant said.