Anti-Putin blogger found dead with throat slit, 100 stab wounds in French hotel while under police protection
A vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who routinely attacked Moscow and Chechnya, was found dead in a French hotel with his throat slit and 100 stab wounds. Authorities reportedly suspect "political motivation" in the incident.
The blogger from Chechnya, identified as 44-year-old Imran Aliev, was found in a pool of blood in a hotel in Lille on January 30. Sources told Agence France Presse that the attack on him reflected "extreme savagery."
Aliev, who had political refugee status, was living in Belgium under police protection "because of threats out of Russia and Chechnya over his opposition blogging," a senior police official from France told Business Insider. The popular blogger, who used the online handle "Mansur Stariy," was mostly known for his harsh criticism of Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov and Putin.
A Belgian law enforcement official, while talking to the outlet, said: "We had him under police protection for a reason," adding there had been "specific and credible threats on his life from certain political sectors in Chechnya and Russia." It is not yet clear whether Aliev had notified his guards about his plan to cross the border into France, reports stated. “Obviously, considering Aliev’s history and previous threats, we need to examine the possibility of a state intelligence service in this murder,” the source added.
A French police official said: "We are collecting and analyzing evidence from travel patterns, electronic intercepts, and other investigative tools at our disposal."
The 44-year-old reportedly checked into the hotel in Lille with a man who was traveling on a Russian passport. Only hours after he checked in, his brutally butchered body was found in his hotel room with a knife lying next to him.
A source close to the murder investigation told AFP that the killing "bears all the characteristics of having a political motivation." While another source said: "Many people could have wanted him."
Another prominent blogger also commented on Aliev's death, claiming the man he was traveling with is possibly already safely back in Chechnya.
France has not yet contacted Russia for any assistance in the case, and no arrests have been made by Lille police yet.