Sweden charges 2 over Chechen critic hammer assault

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Swedish domestic security agency said two individuals have been charged with attempted murder and accessory to attempted murder in a February hammer attack on a blogger and critic of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The agency, known as SAPO, said in a statement issued Thursday that “the attack is suspected to be linked to a regime in another country, the Russian republic of Chechnya.”

The agency, known as SAPO, didn’t name the individuals but Sweden’s TT news agency reported that the two suspects are Russian nationals — a man and a woman — who allegedly assaulted Tumso Abdurachmanov on Feb. 26 in his home in Gavle, about 170 kilometers (106 miles miles) north of Stockholm.

Abdurachmanov was assaulted with a hammer by a man who told the Chechen he came from Moscow, TT said. He survived the attack.

SAPO said that “the fact that another regime is suspected of being linked to an attempted murder in Sweden is an example of how intelligence activities have changed.”

“It is, of course, very serious that another regime is suspected of being linked to the attempted murder of an individual in Sweden, a person who has sought refuge here after having been threatened by the regime in his home country,” said Daniel Stenling, head of SAPO’s counter-intelligence unit, in a statement.

Moscow has relied on Kadyrov to stabilize Chechnya after two separatist wars, and he has run the predominantly Muslim region as his personal fiefdom, relying on feared security forces to enforce his rule and quash dissent. International human rights groups have accused Chechen authorities of abductions, torture and killings of their opponents.

The Chechen leader rejected allegations of his involvement in attacks on his critics abroad, claiming that they were performed by foreign spies to compromise him and tarnish Russia’s image.

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