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Chechen activist in Finland claims he was assassination target

Finland's security police (Supo) says the case follows a string of attacks on Chechen exiles in Europe.

Musa Lomajev
Chechen activist Musa Lomajev. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

Musa Lomajev, a Chechen activist living in Finland, told Finnish news agency STT he had recently been targeted for assassination.

Lomajev claimed half a million dollars had been offered for the hit job, explaining to Finnish news agency STT that he had been receiving threats from his former home country. He said he learned of the planned hit from activists with sources close to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lomajev v Russia

Lomajev made headlines in Chechnya last month after winning a case against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which found Russian police guilty of torturing him in 2004.

He said he contacted the Finnish police after learning about the threat to his life. While tight-lipped about the matter, investigator Mika Ihaksinen of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said the agency was looking into a case involving plans to commit a "serious, life-threatening crime".

The Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo) meanwhile said threats against Chechen activists and critics of the current regime are not news and that several assassinations and failed assassination attempts have been reported throughout Europe.

"Supo has become aware of the situation and has actively sought to learn more about these cases which have recently been reported in Austria, Germany, Sweden and France. In light of these events the risk of something similar happening in Finland can’t be ruled out," a Supo spokesperson told STT via email.

Thirty-nine year-old Lomajev was granted asylum in Finland in 2007, according to STT. He has publicly criticised Kadyrov, claiming the administration tortures prisoners and engages in street brutality.

In September, the ECHR ruled the Russian Federation was to award Lomajev 50,500 euros in damages and an additional 2,000 euros in travel reimbursements. After being arrested in 2004, Lomajev spent nearly a year in jail where he said he was tortured almost daily before being released without any charges brought against him.

ECHR documents show Lomajev received treatment at the Centre for Torture Survivors in Finland.

The Chechen Republic is a part of the Russian Federation.

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