Russian authorities arrest another suspect over concert hall terror attack

A Russian court has detained another suspect over the terror attack at a Moscow concert hall.

Moscow City Courts Telegram channel posted on Saturday that Dzhumokhon Kurbonov is accused of being an accomplice in the atrocity that killed 144 people at the Crocus City Hall music venue on 22 March.

It is claimed Kurbonov, a citizen of Tajikistan, provided the attackers with means of communication and financing.

The judge at Moscow’s Basmanny District Court ruled that Kurbonov would be kept in custody until 22 May pending investigation and trial.

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said Kurbonov was reportedly detained on 11 April for 15 days on the administrative charge of petty hooliganism.

Twelve defendants have so far been arrested in the case, including four who allegedly carried out the attack, according to Russian state agency RIA Novosti.

Independent Russian media outlet Mediazona claimed it common practice for Russian security forces to hold a person in custody while a criminal case is prepared against them.

The four accused of carrying out the attack appeared in the same Moscow court at the end of March to face terrorism charges and showed signs of severe beatings, with one appearing to be barely conscious during the hearing.

The court ordered that the men, all of which Russian media claimed were citizens of Tajikistan, are held in custody until 22 May.

People gather near a makeshift memorial near the Crocus City Hall (Photo: Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters)

The attack took place as crowds gathered for a performance by Russian rock band Picnic, at a venue that can accommodate more than 6,000 people.

Eyewitnesses say the terrorists calmly walked around the venue firing at spectators before throwing petrol bombs.

An audience member bravely tackled and “neutralised” one of the gunmen while he was reloading, according to the Russian Investigative Committee.

A faction of the so-called Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the massacre, which saw gunmen shoot people who were waiting for a show by a popular rock band and then set the building on fire.

But Russian officials including President Vladimir Putin have persistently claimed, without presenting evidence, that Ukraine and the West had a role in the attack.

Ukraine denies involvement and its officials claim that Moscow is pushing the allegation as a pretext to intensify its fighting in Ukraine.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed that Mr Putin was blaming Ukraine in a bid to divert blame for the massacre, adding it was “absolutely predictable” that Putin had remained silent for 24 hours before tying the shooting rampage to Ukraine.

He added that the hundreds of thousands of “terrorists” Putin had sent to fight and be killed in the war in Ukraine would “definitely be enough” to stop terrorists at home.

Additional reporting by AP.