Moscow, July 13 (IANS) A man found guilty of murdering Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was on Thursday sentenced to 20 years in prison by a military court in Moscow.
In addition to the prison time, former Chechen soldier Zaur Dadayev was fined 100,000 rubles ($1,661), reports Efe news.
Nemtsov, who was Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister between 1997-98 and a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot six times on February 27, 2015, while crossing a bridge near the Kremlin, just two days before he was due to take part in a mass rally against Russian involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.
Five Chechens were convicted for the murder, although Dadayev was considered by the jury to be the person who pulled the trigger.
The other four convicts — Anzor and Shadish Gubashev, Tamerlan Eskerkhanov and Khamzat Bakhaev — were given prison sentences ranging between 11-19 years for their role in the killing.
The court stripped those of them that had served in Chechnya’s police force of their ranks and decorations.
According to the prosecution’s version of events, the conspirators were paid at least 15 million rubles ($270,000) to kill Nemtsov by Ruslan Mukhudinov, the personal chauffeur of a Chechen battalion commander, and other unidentified individuals.
Bakhaev was in charge of coordinating the logistics and providing shelter to the others after the crime, while Eskerkhanov had studied Nemtsov’s daily routine and travel routes.
A sixth accomplice, Berslan Shavanov, killed himself in November 2015 in Chechnya’s capital Grozny by detonating a hand grenade as he was about to be arrested.
The five men’s defence attorneys announced after the ruling that they were appealing the sentences.
Nemtsov’s relatives have said they believed the mastermind behind the murder had not yet been found and that the opposition leader — who was investigating the deaths of Russian soldiers in Ukraine at the time he was killed — had been targeted for political reasons.