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Five people found guilty of Nemtsov murder

June 29, 2017

The killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was the most high-profile political assassination in recent years. A court heard a former Chechen security official ordered the murder for a $270,000 (237,000 euro) bounty.

Gedenken an den ermordeten Boris Nemzow
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Five men were found guilty Thursday of involvement in the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov two years ago.

The critic of President Vladimir Putin was shot late at night as he was walking across a bridge just outside the Kremlin. The brazen killing sent shockwaves through the Russian opposition.

After more than eight months of hearings a jury found that Zaur Dadaev, a former officer in the security forces of Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov, was guilty of murdering Nemtsov, Russian news agencies reported. Four other men were reportedly found guilty of involvement in the killing.

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Nemtsov's allies and family had criticized investigators for not probing the possible role of top Chechen officers and Kadyrov himself in the killing.

High-profile political killing

The murder of the former deputy prime minister was the most high-profile political killing in Russia since Putin rose to power some 17 years ago.

Chechen security official named Ruslan Mukhudinov
Ruslan Mukhudinov, who investigators allege ordered the killing, remains at largeImage: interpol.int

The five defendants, all ethnic Chechens from the volatile North Caucasus region, were alleged to have been part of an organized gang that carried out a contract killing. They denied the charges.

Investigators claimed the defendants were contacted by a Chechen security official named Ruslan Mukhudinov, who offered 15 million rubles (about $270,000 or 237,000 euros) for the murder.

Mukhudinov fled and is still being sought by police.

Zhanna Nemtsova reaction

Boris Nemtsov's daughter Zhanna Nemtsova said the case remained unsolved despite the verdict, saying the investigation was merely a way for the government to close the chapter on the murder and forget about it.

Zhanna Nemtsova
Zhanna Nemtsova is a journalist working for DW's Russian serviceImage: DW

Nemtsova told DW that according to a survey by the nongovernmental Levada Research Center in the immediate aftermath of Boris Nemtsov's murder, more than half of all Russians believed that the murder investigation would not reveal who had ordered the killing.

Nemtsova, who hosts a talk show on DW, said that this view reflected the way that many Russians viewed their nation: "a country where there is no rule of law and political assassinations won't be solved."

The daughter of the assassinated politician also highlighted that the Council of Europe would be releasing a special report about the investigation into the murder of her father.

aw,ss/jm (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)