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Russian ‘hitman’ loses eight-year fight to stay in the UK

Russian ‘hitman’ suspected of plotting to murder exiled prime minister of Chechnya on British soil loses eight-year fight to stay in the UK

  • The ‘hitman’ planned to murder Chechen secessionist figure Akhmed Zakayev
  • The Russian man, known as D2, lived in Britain with his wife and six children
  • D2 left Britain in 2010, but was barred from coming back by the Home Office 
  • The Special Immigration Appeals Commission has upheld the 2010 decision

A Russian ‘hitman’ suspected by the security services of plotting to murder the exiled prime minister of Chechnya on British soil has lost an extraordinary eight-year fight to stay in the UK.

MI5 said it had obtained intelligence that the former soldier planned to kill Akhmed Zakayev at the behest of Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s current leader and a close ally of Vladimir Putin.

But the would-be assassin – identified only as ‘D2’ in legal documents – argued that his human rights would be breached if he was barred from Britain.


MI5 intelligence suggests the ‘hitman’ was ordered by Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov (left) to murder secessionist figure Akhmed Zakayev (right)

Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal he has had his brazen bid to remain rejected, with legal experts putting the cost of the saga at up to £1 million.

After D2 left Britain to visit Chechnya in 2010, the then Home Secretary Theresa May ordered that he be prevented from returning.


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D2, whose wife and six children still live here, argued the move breached his ‘human right to a family’.

When he returned to Britain in 2012, he was arrested at Heathrow and told he would be detained in prison for the duration of his appeal.

Instead, he flew back to Chechnya after seven months to continue the appeal from abroad. 

But in a judgment issued last week, a panel of judges at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) ruled that the Home Office had been correct to brand D2 as a ‘threat to national security’.

The man, known as D2, left Britain in 2010, but was barred from coming back by then Home Secretary Theresa May (pictured in 2014)

The decision comes at a time when relations between Russia and Britain are strained following a series of suspected attacks on Russian dissidents and exiles on UK soil.

Sergei Skripal, 67, and his daughter Yulia, 34, were poisoned with the novichok nerve agent in Salisbury last year by a team from the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service. 

The court heard D2 was an ally of Mr Kadyrov (left), who was appointed president of Chechnya by Vladimir Putin

In 2012, Russian businessman German Gorbuntsov, 52, was shot and left for dead outside his flat in Canary Wharf. And in 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in London with radioactive polonium-210 on the orders of the Kremlin.

SIAC heard that D2 and his family were granted asylum in Britain in 2002, on the grounds that his life was in danger in Chechnya due to links with anti-Putin rebels.

Since then, the family has received benefits and are understood to live in council accommodation. 

D2’s wife and children became naturalised British citizens in 2009 but he was not granted the same status.

The court heard the 52-year-old became an ally of Mr Kadyrov, who was appointed president of Chechnya by Putin in 2007, after previously serving as prime minister.

An MI5 agent accused Mr Kadyrov of creating a list of overseas enemies that he wanted eliminated, including Mr Zakayev, who fled Chechnya in 2001 and was given permission to stay in Britain.

It was claimed Mr Kadyrov (pictured) rewarded D2 with a luxury car after assassinating a former bodyguard of Mr Zakayev

The Security Service also told SIAC that it suspected D2 of involvement in the assassination of Umar Israilov, one of Mr Zakayev’s former bodyguards, in Vienna in 2009. 

It claimed D2 had been rewarded by Mr Kadyrov with a luxury car complete with personalised number-plate.

The SIAC judgment concluded: ‘In short, we consider that D2 is a future risk to national security… and would be in a good position, if he returned to the United Kingdom, to facilitate an assassination attempt against Zakayev.

‘Such an attack would clearly present a risk to national security.’

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