MOSCOW, March 12. /TASS/. Andrei Babushkin, a member of the Moscow public monitoring commission and the presidential council for human rights and the development of civil society, told TASS early on Thursday he had been interrogated by Russia’s Investigations Committee.
"The interrogation is over. I was interrogated as a witness in the case of Boris Nemtsov’s murder," he said, adding that investigators wanted to know what for human rights activists had visited suspects in Nemtsov’s murder at a detention ward. "I said and gave them our reports about the visit. I said we had reasons to believe that they had been tortured. The interrogation was held in a friendly atmosphere. They seem to really want to understand what and why we did," Babushkin said.
He also said that the investigators confirmed that officers of the Investigations Committee had come to Eva Merkacheva’s (a Moskovsky Komsomolets daily correspondent) apartment. "They said they just wanted to do their job as quickly as possible," he said, adding that investigators had asked him to persuade Merkacheva to waste no time and arrive at the Investigations Committee for an interrogation.
Babushkin also said that as long as he was a witness in the case he was not allowed to visit the suspects in Nemtsov’s murder, as well as the detention centre they were being kept. "As a member of the public commission, I have the right to visit other detention centres but not this one. This is the law," he said, adding that after the interrogation as a witness Merkacheva would not be allowed to visit the suspects either.
On March 10, visited the suspects in the murder of Russian politician Boris Nemtsov. In the meantime, the Russian Investigations Committee came up with a statement warning against interfering into the investigation of Nemtsov’s murder and said it would give a legal opinion of Babushkin’s and Merkacheva’s actions, who wanted to know the details of the criminal case while visiting the detention ward.
On March 10, Anton Tsvetkov, the head of the Moscow Public Monitoring Commission, and three human rights activists, including Babushkin and Merkacheva, visited Zaur Dadaev and Anzor and Shagid Gubashev at the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center after reported tortures.
On March 8, Moscow’s Basmanny Court sanctioned the arrest of five suspects in the case of the recent murder of Boris Nemtsov. The court ruled to keep Anzor and Shagit Gubashevs, Zaur Dadaev, Khamzat Bakhaev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov in custody till April 28. The five men were arrested on March 7 and 8 on suspicion of committing a murder by a group of persons in collusion for reasons of greed or for money, as well as connected with robbery, extortion or banditry /Article 105 of Russia’s Criminal Code/ and illegal possession of or arms (Article 222). These charges carry a punishment of a prison term of eight to 20 years or a life sentence.
On Wednesday, the head of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights’ commission urged the authorized agencies to check reports saying suspects in the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov could have been tortured.
Andrei Babushkin’s statement posted on the council’s website was addressed to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee.
Babushkin also asked the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service to "ensure the safety" of Zaur Dadayev, Anzor Gubashev and Shagid Gubashev.
The appeal came after Bahushkin visited the suspects in custody on Tuesday. He said Dadaev had numerous bodily injuries, while Anzor Gubashev had scratch marks on the nasal bridge, wrists and legs.
Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition politician and a lawmaker of the Yaroslavl Region Duma legislature/, was shot dead on Moscow’s Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin overnight to February 28. The principal witness of the crime, Ukrainian national Anna Duritskaya, who had been with Nemtsov at the moment of his murder, left for Ukraine after being interrogated. She pledged she would cooperate with investigators.
Nemtsov was buried at the Troyekurov Cemetery in Moscow on March 3.