News / Europe

    Russian Judge: Chechen Confesses to Nemtsov Killing

    Police escort a man believed to be one of five suspects in the killing of Boris Nemtsov in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, March 8, 2015.
    Police escort a man believed to be one of five suspects in the killing of Boris Nemtsov in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, March 8, 2015.
    VOA News

    A Russian judge said Sunday a former Chechen police commander has confessed to his involvement in the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, while authorities continue their investigation of four other suspects.

    All five appeared in a Moscow court and were detained as officials questioned them about the February 27 shooting death of Nemtsov, a staunch foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nemtsov was shot four times in the back as he walked across a bridge with his girlfriend in sight of the Kremlin.

    Judge Nataliya Mushnikova said one of the men charged with murder in the case, former deputy Chechen police commander Zaur Dadayev, signed a confession although no details were disclosed about his role. But the judge said a second suspect charged with murder in Nemtsov's death, Anzor Gubashev, denied his involvement.

    Television footage showed Gubashev, who worked for a private security firm in Moscow, sitting in a jail cell holding a piece of paper over his face to hide it. Other images showed heavily armed police quickly escorting three hunched-over suspects into a small courtroom and locking them in barred cages.

    Besides Dadayev and Gubashev, authorities identified the other three suspects as Gubashev's younger brother Shagid, Ramsat Bakhayev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov.

    Meanwhile, authorities said a sixth suspect blew himself up with a grenade as police tried to detain him in the Chechen capital, Grozny.

    Before the judge disclosed Dadayev's involvement in the killing, his mother, Aaimani Dadayeva, told the Interfax news agency, "I can't believe it. He could not have committed this crime." She said her son has worked for Chechen law enforcement agencies for the last decade.

    Motive still unknown

    Despite the detention of the five suspects, no information has emerged about a possible motive for the killing. Nemtsov's allies say his assassination was ordered at the highest levels of the Russian government to silence critics.

    All five suspects are from the restive North Caucasus region where Russia has fought two fierce wars in the last 20 years against separatists in Chechnya allied with Islamic fundamentalists. Security forces continue to clash with insurgents.

    Putin has called the killing "a provocation" and vowed the government would do everything to ensure those responsible are "properly punished."

    One of Nemtsov's closest allies in the opposition, Ilya Yashin, expressed his skepticism on Facebook after the arrests were announced, saying it is "hard to judge" whether these are the real perpetrators. He said it is extremely important that in addition to the shooters, those who ordered the killing are also identified and detained.

    Nemtsov's killing occurred two days before he was to have led an anti-war and anti-Putin rally in Moscow. The opposition figure had also been working on a report about Russian military involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

    After his death, the planned rally was transformed into a tribute to Nemtsov.

    A few weeks before the shooting, Nemtsov told the Russian news website Sobesednik he thought Putin wanted him dead, and did not hold back his contempt for the Russian leader.

    "I'm afraid Putin will kill me. I believe that he was the one who unleashed the war in Ukraine. I couldn't dislike him more," Nemtsov said.

    Nemtsov was a deputy prime minister in the 1990s, and many Russian observers predicted he would succeed then-President Boris Yeltsin.

    After President Yeltsin chose Vladimir Putin as his successor, and Putin was subsequently elected in 2000, Nemtsov became one of Russia's sharpest and most outspoken Putin critics, especially following last year's uprising in Ukraine.

    In September, Nemtsov told VOA that Putin wants revenge for Ukraine's overthrow of its pro-Russian president.

    He said Putin fears that what happened in Ukraine could happen in Russia, and sees a pro-European Ukraine as a threat to his own power.

    Some information for this report came from Reuters.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
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    by: Gene from: Texas USA
    March 09, 2015 2:11 PM
    Why would this police commander want to assassinate Nemtsov? It appears to me that Putin has figured out a way to kill one of his enemies and put the blame on his other enemies. Kill two birds with one stone. The Russian authorities will beat a confession out of them.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 09, 2015 7:17 PM
    Beat a confession? Is this coming from Americans?
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 09, 2015 7:16 PM
    Why don't you find out for us, come on sweetheart? Please, you know so much about Russia despite being in redneck state. You got so right, Putin would go around make high profile killing spree, when political assassinations seems to be quietly done. To an opposition that has no political value, his popularity is quiet high. Makes sense, right Redneck boy?

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    March 09, 2015 1:48 PM
    Now we know better. Even a blind person can smell the truth from afar. Nemtsov was a Jew, and that alone is good enough to make him a target for the islamists not only in Russia but all over the world, no matter what good he thought he was doing. Probably his undoing was his unresolved opposition to Putin at a time like this when Kremlin is grappling with combined and orchestrated sanctions from the haters of Russia's clout in continuation of the cold-war which Kremlin erroneously believed was over with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Poor Russia! It could have slackened the security it had provided Nemsov while aware that the Chechens were on his heels to do some damage, whereinafter Kremlin would only find whatever happened useful in further reducing/eliminating the criminals who could be capable of even more harm in the future than just hitting Nemtsov. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Nemtsov should have known it and that should have helped him to remain alive today for those he represented.

    by: H. Arkanov from: Russia
    March 09, 2015 12:11 PM
    West do not understand Islamic Chechens. We are not like Arabs. Chechen love Israel. We admire courage and wisdom we love Israel. We hate Iran. No Chechen can kill Jew Nemzov, it is not in our nature. this is Putin doing this. if i break your hands and legs you confess to anything. where is UN..? where is all the "professional crying people"...where...?? what a joke.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 10, 2015 10:33 AM
    I guess someone is desperate, that he needs make wild accusation of others and laden with insults, how pathetic can you get. Yah, John it's funny Hitler references seem to no issues for this person but somehow wants attack someone making any critical of Russian opposition, how low can you go, that we cannot even criticise others. And then he makes rhetorical points of freedom, people like Peter are lowest form of people. Look his late father comments, he was quiet vulgar man, using abusive language and treating others with contempt..
    In Response

    by: John
    March 10, 2015 9:02 AM
    400 year old? Anonymous is a computer? Clearly sanity is gone from some people. There's comments on hitler? Where's your moral outrage there or is limited to people who disagree with your anti-putin views. Sounds petty and shallow, speak volume about you and your late daddy.
    In Response

    by: Peter Cekanauskas from: Morawa Western Australia
    March 10, 2015 7:34 AM
    Thank you H. Arkanov, for your contribution. I did not know that Boris Nemtsov was Jewish. I was not aware of the dynamics between Chechens and Israel. I did not see any other contributor to this debate challenge the reality of the mutual respect between Chechens and Israelies that you alluded to. Your detractor "Anonymous" seems to be an authority on everything. To have so much wisdom, perhaps he (or she) is 400 years old?

    Anonymous certainly has not to date shed a tear for the courageous Russian citizen, Boris Nemtsov. Insults to the dead by way of labelling his opposition insignificant and by extension - his life worthless. Bad manners to speak ill of the dead. Almost a vote of support for his murderers - whoever they were. My late father said to me, "Son, there are heroes and villains in every society. Everyone has a mouth, and everyone has an arse. Depends which you see most of."

    With "Anonymous", we can't see anything at all. Maybe "Anonymous" is just a computer with bad manners...

    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 09, 2015 4:11 PM
    lol, ha ha, so Chechens condone Israeli war crimes and post as Habara trolls, or redneck american posts try to see attention for his missed up life? If Israel is Jewish state then you're condoning apartheid state. haha, no moral integrity what's so ever

    by: Larry Osborne
    March 09, 2015 10:35 AM
    Get the thumb screws out again and I'll bet we can get them to confess to killing jimmy hoffa too, and maybe DB Cooper.

    by: talkerbaochao from: ca
    March 09, 2015 10:03 AM
    Great time to live in Russia. Its just LIES LIES LIES
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 09, 2015 11:19 AM
    amazing, apparently you know the truth while living in US soil and have no process of police inquiry? I think no one is going trust your deranged rambling of nationalistic cult beliefs.

    by: bee tea from: here
    March 09, 2015 9:39 AM
    The whole world knows Putin order Nemtsov killing except for the most Russian. He killed an Innocent man who love his country. Who would do anything for his people freedom and equal power. For Russian and Ukrainian. I respect him and those who supported and believe in him. May he rest in peace. The one that ordered the killing is a Coward and should be embarrassed for killing innocent man
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 09, 2015 10:18 AM
    How do you know the whole world? Insults? Petty, speaking volume about your personality, brainwashed nationalist cult is talking.

    by: David Thomas from: sydney
    March 09, 2015 9:31 AM
    Very convenient. How many chechins in the Ukraine ?
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 09, 2015 11:16 AM
    You tell us since you're suggesting the idea, somehow you know more than us.

    by: ESP from: CANADA
    March 09, 2015 9:21 AM
    WOW...action movie in Moscow.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 09, 2015 9:45 AM
    wow..Canadian intelligence, stop trolling get a life, we know desperate, insecure political views are being challenged go have a nervous breakdown somewhere else.

    by: Jim from: Italy
    March 09, 2015 7:47 AM
    He also confessed to setting the Reichstag fire
    In Response

    by: onklsam from: lagos
    March 09, 2015 9:39 AM
    This 'confession' is similar to Putin's confession on 'absence' of russian troops in ukraine.

    by: bee tea from: here
    March 09, 2015 7:38 AM
    To Igor, you are very naive. Putin listen to anyone but himself. Obama. Listen to the people. Plus get the freak out of the Country if you are going to criticize
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 09, 2015 9:44 AM
    Glad you decided that, it seems so uninformative and baseless.
    Comments page of 3
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