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Nemtsov suspect likely tortured

March 11, 2015

A member of a Russian human rights commission has said Zaur Dadaev, the main suspect in Boris Nemtsov's killing, has signs of torture on his body. He said he believes Dadaev was forced to confess to the shooting.

Zaur Dadaev
Image: Reuters/T. Makeyeva

After visiting the detention center where Dadaev had been held on Tuesday, Andrei Babushkin, a member of the Russian human rights commission, said there were abrasions on Dadaev's body and signs that he had been "tortured by those who detained him" before being later taken to the Investigative Committee, where "he was forced to confess."

According to Russian officials, Dadaev, a former Chechen policeman, is being held in custody along with his cousins, Anzor and Shagid Gubashev. Dadaev and Anzor Gubashev were formally charged on Sunday after Dadaev allegedly confessed to Nemtsov's shooting.

"There are reasonable grounds to believe that Dadaev and the Gubashevs were tortured," Babushkin wrote on his website on Wednesday.


Investigators didn't confirm or deny the accusations made by Babushkin on Wednesday, but said the human rights activist may have broken the law by publicizing details about the case.

The commission said talking to reporters about the case was "a violation not only of the rules [of visiting rights] but also of the law. The human rights commission, which is an unofficial advisory board under the auspices of the Kremlin but which counts many respected activists among its members, said Babushkin and Eva Merkacheva, a journalist who accompanied him, would be questioned.

Release on confession

In an interview by Merkacheva in the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, Dadaev said he had been detained for two days with a bag over his head.

"They shouted at me all the time: 'Have you killed Nemtsov?' I told them, 'No,'" he was quoted as saying. When investigators told him that a friend who had been detained "would be released if I confessed, I agreed. I thought they would save him, and that I would be brought to Moscow alive."

Nemtsov, a former Russian deputy prime minister and prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died after he was shot in the back four times within sight of the Kremlin on February 27. The only witness was Nemtsov's girlfriend, Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya.

ksb/sms (Reuters, AP, AFP)