On February 13, 2004, Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev was assassinated by Russian secret service agents who bombed his car in the Qatari capital, Doha.

After 6 days, the Qatari authorities arrested three Russians in the Russian embassy villa for the murder. Aleksandr Fetisov, the first secretary of the Russian Embassy in Qatar, was released in March allegedly due to his diplomatic status and the remaining two GRU agents: Anatoly Yablochkov and Vasily Pugachyov were charged with the assassination of Yandarbiyev, assassination attempt of his son Daud (who was injured in the incident) and smuggling weapons into Qatar. The two latter confessed that the order came directly from Russia’s Defense Minister, Sergei Ivanov.

On December 23, 2004, Qatar agreed to extradite the prisoners to Russia, where they would serve out their life sentence. The agents received a heroes welcome upon returning to Moscow.

On February 2005, the Russian prison authorities admitted that the two agents were freed, as a Qatari sentence was “irrelevant” in Russia.