Uzbek Jew accused of murder is sent to mental hospital

"This young man was totally healthy and mentally alert after the date of the alleged murder," said Simon Klarfeld, executive director of the BACJRR.

Helene Kenvin, attorney in the U.S. for the Fattakhov family and president of the Caucasus Network (an international organization aiding Jews in the Caucasus and Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union), expressed disappointment in the court's decision to send Fattakhov to a psychiatric hospital.

"Instead of exonerating Dmitrii or sending the case back for further investigation to determine who actually committed the murder, the judge ordered this innocent young man to be detained in a mental hospital for an open-ended period," Kenvin said. "This is not justice."

On behalf of the Fattakhov family, Kenvin has made an official request to the Uzbekistan government that Dmitrii be permitted to go to Israel with his mother, for treatment. The two had been planning to emigrate to Israel prior to Dmitrii's arrest.

On April 13, 1995 Fattakhov was accused of the ax murder and dismemberment of Pulat Khamdamov, a neighborhood drunkard and gambler with a criminal record, according to the BACJRR.

Khamdamov had entered the liquor store where Fattakhov worked as a clerk, and when Khamdamov's behavior became unruly, sources say, Fattakhov refused to sell him liquor and escorted him out of the store. Later, parts of Khamdamov's body were found in a nearby river.

The prosecution claims that after escorting Khamdamov from the store, Fattakhov killed him with an ax blow to the head and then dismembered him. They say that with the help of a co-worker, Fattakhov then put the bloody pieces into a sack, drove to the river and tossed it in. Two Russian co-workers were charged with being accessories to the crime.

However, no physical evidence was found in the store or on Fattakhov's clothing. What's more, after one of Fattakhov's co-workers was released from prison, he immediately recanted his confession, saying it had been beaten out of him. In so doing, he exonerated Fattakhov.