Russian Federation sentences Nemtsov hitmen to lengthy jail terms

A Russian court has sentenced five men convicted of killing opposition politician Boris Nemtsov to prison terms ranging from 11 to 20 years, on July 13.

The court also fined Dadayev 100,000 rubles and found no reasons to restrict his freedom after he serves his prison term.

The bold killing of Nemtsov, 55, on a bridge near the Kremlin shocked many Russians; questions remain about who reportedly placed a large bounty on his life.

Nemtsov, a scathing critic of President Vladimir Putin, was murdered days before he was expected to lead a major opposition march.

Prosecutor Maria Semenenko, who asked for Dadayev to receive a life sentence, said she may launch an appeal.

Nemtsov's allies have criticized the investigators for stopping short of investigating the possible role of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and top Chechen officers in the killing. Nemtsov's family and friends suspect a cover-up and have demanded that Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman president of Chechnya, is called in for questioning.

State prosecutors said the group had followed Mr Nemtsov around the Russian capital and had been promised a bounty of 15 million roubles (£193,000) between them for the high-profile assassination. The report was released three months after he was assassinated.

While the verdicts were welcomed by supporters of Nemtsov, the investigation and trial were condemned for failing to uncover the masterminds of the killing or addressing the motive, which is widely believed to be political.

Shamsudin Tsakayev, Dadayev's lawyer, told Reuters after the sentencing that there was "incontrovertible proof" that his client had not committed the crime.

The Gubashev brothers, Eskerkhanov and Bakhayev, were found guilty of helping to organise and carry out the killing.

The jury ruled on June 29 to find all five defendants in the criminal case dealing with Nemtsov's assassination guilty and not deserving lenience.

  • Rogelio Becker