Sister of Russian airport bomber freed - reports

Reuters News
Posted: May 19, 2011 5:04 PM
Sister of Russian airport bomber freed - reports

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian authorities have dropped all charges against the teenage sister of a suicide bomber who killed 37 people at the country's busiest airport this year, media reported on Thursday,

The sister, Fatima Yevloyeva, 16, had been charged as an accomplice in the January attack along with another man, Umar Aushev, who had also now been acquitted, state-run RIA news agency reported.

Both have been released from custody, Itar-Tass news agency said, citing defense lawyers. The reports did not give specific reasons for the decision to drop the charges.

Akhmed Yevloyev, a brother of bomber Magomed Yevloyev, remained charged and in custody.

The attack in the international arrivals area at Moscow's Domodedovo airport underscored the persistent threat from Islamist insurgents operating in the North Caucasus who claimed responsibility for the bombing.

According to Itar-Tass, Aushev has admitted that he had driven the bomber from their village of Ali-Yurt to Ingushetia's main city of Nazran before the attack, but contends that he was unaware that he intended to commit a crime.

The Kremlin is struggling against a persistent insurgency in the mostly Muslim provinces on Russia's southern fringe that stems from two devastating wars against rebels in Chechnya, one of the North Caucasus provinces, since the 1991 Soviet breakup.

(Reporting by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Maria Golovnina)