Brother of murdered Syrian demands Kremlin open criminal case against Wagner mercenaries

The brother of Syrian resident Mohammad E., who was killed by the mercenaries of the Wagner private military company, has filed an application with the Russian Investigative Committee demanding to open a criminal case against the Russians involved in his brother’s execution, reported Novaya Gazeta with reference to the complainant's lawyers.

The murder took place in 2017. Earlier, Novaya Gazeta published footage of the Wagner mercenaries with a severed head of Mohammad E. The newspaper was able to identify one of the participants in the murder - 30-year-old Stanislav Dychko, who joined the private military company in 2016. According to Novaya Gazeta, the execution took place near the Al-Shaer gas field in Syria.

"Russian law obliges the government to investigate crimes committed by Russian citizens abroad. The Investigative Committee has not yet launched an investigation into the circumstances of the murder, although all the necessary information was officially provided to the Russian authorities more than a year ago," lawyer Ilya Novikov, who represents the victim's brother, told the publication.

Mohammad E.'s brother insists on opening the investigation into “murder with extreme cruelty”. He also asked the Russian Investigative Committee to check whether the Wagner mercenaries were involved in other war crimes.

The complainant has been assisted by Memorial Charity Foundation, the International Federation for Human Rights and the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.

The appeal presents evidence collected by Novaya Gazeta, indicating the involvement of Wagner mercenaries in the murder.

In November 2020, the newspaper had already asked the head of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, to look into the incident, but the Committee did not respond.

Mohammad E.'s family has now left Syria.

Novaya Gazerta notes that Russian law enforcement agencies have so far shown no interest in investigating executions in Syria, although under Russian law these are punishable crimes.

Wagner's CVC is associated with Putin’s friend Evgeny Prigozhin. Wagner fighters are present not only in Syria, but also in other countries of the Middle East, in particular, in Libya and the Central African Republic. The Kremlin denies any links to Russian private military companies.

  Wagner, Syria, Russia