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Court refuses to summon Chechen leader Kadyrov for questioning in Nemtsov murder case

Prosecutor did not object to Kadyrov’s questioning on condition that the Chechen leader would want to come to the court

MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. The Moscow District Military Court has rejected a request filed by representatives of the affected party in the criminal case of opposition figure Boris Nemtsov’s murder to summon Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov for questioning as a witness.

The petition was filed by lawyer Vadim Prokhorov.

"Kadyrov may possess information on the murder of Nemtsov who was numerously criticized by the head of Chechnya," the lawyer said.

Prosecutor Maria Semenenko did not object to Kadyrov’s questioning on condition that the Chechen leader would want to come to the court.

"Considering Kadyrov’s status, we’ll question him, if he expresses the desire to speak in the court," the state prosecutor said.

Nemtsov’s daughter Zhanna earlier requested Russia’s Investigative Committee to question Kadyrov as part of the case of his father’s murder. In an interview with TASS in late November, the head of Chechnya said he was ready to come for questioning anytime in the case of politician Nemtsov’s murder, if he received an official summons notice.

The accused Zaur Dadayev said in the court he had no personal or friendly relations with Kadyrov. "Yes, we came across each other during work in the battalion ‘Sever’ [North] but nothing more like that," he said.

Nemtsov, former deputy prime minister under then-President Boris Yeltsin, co-chairman of the Parnas party and lawmaker of the Yaroslavl regional legislature, was gunned down in downtown Moscow on February 27, 2015. Five persons were arrested on March 8 last year on suspicion of murdering the politician: Zaur Dadayev, Anzor and Shadid Gubashev, Tamerlan Eskerkhanov and Khamzat Bakhayev.

Depending on their role and the degree of their involvement, they are pressed with charges under part 2, article 105 ("Contract Murder Committed by an Organized Group") and part 3, article 222 of Russia’s Criminal Code ("Illegal Acquisition, Transfer, Storage, Transportation and Possession of Firearms and Ammunition by an Organized Group"). Article 105 carries a punishment of up to life imprisonment.

The accused persons are denying their complicity in Nemtsov’s murder. The term of their arrest has been extended until December 30.

According to investigators, the men received at least 15 million rubles ($238,000 at the current exchange rate) for the politician’s murder. They started preparing for the killing back in September 2014. The suspected organizer of the murder is Ruslan Mukhudinov, a former officer of the Chechen "Sever" battalion. Mukhudinov has been charged in absentia. He has been on the international wanted list since November 2015. A criminal case against him and other unidentified persons is investigated separately.

In late June, Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office sent the criminal case to the Moscow District Military Court to review its merits. The defendants have insisted that the murder case should be considered by the board of jurors.

The case is heard by the Moscow District Military Court rather than the Moscow City Court as Zaur Dadayev, one of the suspected perpetrators, was a serviceman of the "Sever" battalion in the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya at the moment when the murder was committed.