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Kremlin vows to continue search for masterminds behind Nemtsov murder

Peskov has added that those responsible for the politician's murder will be punished
Flowers and candles left at a portrait of Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow, 2015 Sergei Savostianov/TASS
Flowers and candles left at a portrait of Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow, 2015
© Sergei Savostianov/TASS

MOSCOW, June 28. /TASS/. The search for masterminds of high-profile murders, including the killing of Russian politician Boris Nemtsov, will continue, but this may take a long time, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

"These cases refer to the category of the most challenging ones to solve, that’s why it is necessary to find and hold accountable not only the perpetrators but also masterminds of such murders," Peskov said, stressing that punishment is inevitable.

Peskov noted that it is difficult to investigate these crimes, but this does not mean that the search for criminals is halted. "Sometimes this effort takes years," he stressed.

Earlier on Wednesday, jurors could not reach a unanimous decision on the five men accused of being involved in the murder of Nemtsov and started holding a majority vote. Under the law, each of 26 issues will be decided by a majority vote and if the number of votes is equal it will be regarded in the defendants’ favor. The jurors won’t be limited by any timeframe and will be able to vote as long as they need.

Twelve jurors will decide on the fate of the defendants and answer the key question: if Zaur Dadayev is guilty of Nemtsov’s murder "committed together with other defendants." The Nemtsov murder trial began in October 2016.

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 suspicion of murdering the politician: Zaur Dadayev, Anzor and Shadid Gubashev, Tamerlan Eskerkhanov and Khamzat Bakhayev.

Depending on their role and 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 suspected mastermind behind 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 is investigated separately.