Tue, Mar 10, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Two charged with Nemtsov’s murder

NY Times News Service and Reuters, MOSCOW

Zaur Dadayev, charged with the murder of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, stands inside a defendants’ cage at the Basmanny District Court in Moscow on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Two Chechens, one a police officer who fought insurgents and the second a security guard, were charged in a Moscow court on Sunday in connection with the killing of Boris Nemtsov, a leading Kremlin critic, while three other suspects were jailed pending further investigation.

Judge Nataliya Mushnikova of Basmanny District Court said that the officer, Zaur Dadayev, had confessed to involvement in the killing and that other evidence confirmed his participation, Russian news agencies reported, but no further details were available.

The second suspect charged, Anzor Gubashev, pleaded not guilty.

Despite the court appearances, neither the court nor Russian law enforcement agencies presented coherent pictures of the case, including the roles played by the suspects or any motive they might have had.

Dadayev and Gubashev, whose arrests were announced on Saturday by Russia’s top law enforcement official, are believed to be the two directly involved in fatally shooting Nemtsov on Feb. 27.

The three other suspects who appeared in court on Sunday, accused of being accomplices, were Gubashev’s younger brother, Shagid, a truck driver; Khamzad Bakhaev; and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov, the Tass news agency reported.

All five were jailed for up to two months.

Since the shooting took place within sight of the Kremlin, among the most heavily guarded sites in Moscow, opposition figures have accused the government of complicity, which it has denied.

A colleague of Nemtsov said suggestions he was killed by Muslim militants were nonsensical and useful for the Kremlin because they deflected accusations that officials were involved.

Speculation about a militant link strengthened after Dadayev’s former boss said the suspect had been angered by publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

When Nemtsov was shot dead last week as he walked across a bridge next to the Kremlin, it took 11 minutes before a police car arrived at the scene, according to the time stamp on closed circuit television footage.

From the moment the 55-year-old former deputy prime minister was shot, associates of the Kremlin critic have been asking why the police took so long to get there, and how, in such a heavily monitored location, someone could fire six shots at him and get away.

Sources say they believe Russian security agencies, which run close surveillance on many prominent opposition figures, were monitoring Nemtsov.

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