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Nemtsov’s family asks Supreme Court to requalify politician’s murder

The Supreme Court on Tuesday started considering appeals against the sentence passed in the Nemtsov murder case
Portrait of Boris Nemtsov Mikhail Japaridze/TASS
Portrait of Boris Nemtsov
© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, October 10. /TASS/. Attorneys representing Boris Nemtsov’s family on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to requalify the politician’s murder as a more serious criminal offense to which the statute of limitations would not apply in order to ensure the yet-to-be exposed persons who put out a contract on Nemtsov would not escape justice.

"The plaintiffs want Nemtsov’s murder, investigated under Article 105 of the Criminal Code (Murder) to be requalified to Article 277 (Encroachment on the Life of a Public Figure or Politician). The requalification is important for the plaintiffs, because those who ordered the hit have not been identified to this day. Under Article 105 the statute of limitations is 15 years, while for Article 277 no statute of limitations exists, which is reason enough to search for and eventually punish those who ordered the hit," the Nemtsov family’s lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, told the court.

The maximum penalty under both articles is a life sentence. Earlier, the Moscow district military court, which considered the case on its merits, refused to requalify the case.

"Nemtsov was a political figure known to the entire country. We believe that his murder was committed precisely for the purpose of putting an end to his public activity," Mikhailova said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday started considering appeals against the sentence passed in the Nemtsov murder case.

The investigation 

Attorneys from the family of murdered Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov also asked the Russian Supreme Court to quash the guilty verdict against one of the convicts in the case, Khamzat Bakhayev, a TASS correspondent reported.

"We support the defense team’s appeal regarding Khamzat Bakhayev’s sentence and believe that his involvement in Nemtsov’s murder has not been proven," Defense Attorney Vadim Prokhorov said.

With regard to the remaining defendants, the victims consider the verdict to be legal, but believe the crime itself has not been fully solved. Attorney Vadim Prokhorov told the court that he plans to fly to Strasbourg to attend hearings in connection with "Russian investigators’ refusal to determine the masterminds behind Nemtsov’s murder."

On July 13, the Moscow District Military Court sentenced Zaur Dadaev, brothers Anzor and Shadid Gubashev, along with Temirlan Eskherhanov and Khamzat Bakhayev to 11 to 20 years behind bars in a maximum security penal colony with a 100,000 ruble ($1,714) fine for each of them. The perpetrator of the crime, former deputy commander of the Sever (or North) battalion Dadayev got the maximum penalty. Subsequently, Eskerkhanov and the two brothers Anzor and Shadid Gubashev were sentenced to 14,19 and 16 years respectively, while Bakhayev got 11 years.

Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister under then-President Boris Yeltsin, co-chairman of the Parnas political party and lawmaker from the Yaroslavl regional legislature, was gunned down in downtown Moscow on February 27, 2015. Five individuals were arrested on suspicion of murdering the politician: Zaur Dadayev, Anzor and Shadid Gubashev, Tamerlan Eskerkhanov and Khamzat Bakhayev. Another suspect, Beslan Shavanov, resisted police and blew himself up.

According to investigators, Ruslan Mukhudinov, a former officer of the Chechen Sever (or North) battalion, is the mastermind and organizer of the murder. Mukhudinov was charged in absentia. He has been on an international wanted list since November 2015.