The British intelligence agency MI5 unmasked a murder plot against Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen politician living in exile in England, according to news reports last week. Mr. Zakayev fled his homeland, the rebel Russian republic engulfed in a brutal civil war, ten years ago, and thereafter received asylum from the British government. He serves as the prime minister for the unofficial breakaway government of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. According to MI5, the recognized Chechen prime minister, Ramzan Kadyrov, a ruthless Zakayev adversary, orchestrated the assassination conspiracy, and the spy organization disclosed that Zakayev’s name was included on a list of Kadyrov enemies, a number of whom were marked for murder. MI5 also divulged that a fellow Chechen residing in Britain, identified solely as E1, functioned as intermediary in the plot, arranging the planned assassination since he was privy to crucial information. E1 was fingered by MI5 as well of complicity in the 2009 shooting death of Umar Israilov, onetime Kadyrov bodyguard turned outspoken critic.
MI5 has cautioned that E1 poses a threat to British national security. Acting on its recommendation, the Home Secretary has sought the expulsion of the man who was granted asylum based on his declaration that he was seeking escape from the Chechen civil war. E1 is being held in detention and waging a legal battle to stay in Britain. Last month the Appeal Court ordered he be permitted to remain there during the course of his court fight.

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