MOSCOW, July 25 (RAPSI, Oleg Sivozhelezov) – In the course of preliminary hearings stated today, the lawyers defending five men staying charged with the murder of prominent opposition politician Boris Nemtsov had lodged a petition asking for a trial by jury, Vadim Prokhorov, a lawyer for the aggrieved party, told RAPSI on Monday.

According to the lawyer, the court has yet to decide the motion. By this Prokhorov has refuted the reports published earlier by some media outlets that the court had already ruled in favor of a trial by jury.

Therefore, in the course of preliminary hearings for alleged Nemtsov murderers a Moscow military court will have to rule if the case is to be tried by jury.

Earlier, tightened security was introduced around the building of the court, where the preliminary hearings are held, as reported by a RAPSI correspondent. The building has been sealed off and journalists not permitted in the courtroom.

At the end of June, Vladimir Markin, the Russia’s Investigative Committee official spokesperson, said that “Investigation into the case of Zaur Dadayev, Anzor Gubashev, Shadid Gubashev, Temerlan Eskerkhanov, and Khamzat Bakhayev standing charged with a contract murder in the composition of an organized gang, and of illegal acquisition, transportation and possession of firearms, has been completed.”

According to investigators, in late September 2014, Ruslan Mukhudinov, a former officer in the Chechen Interior Ministry, and some unnamed persons offered the five accused to murder Nemtsov for 15 million rubles ($230,000).

The Investigative Committee spokesperson said that the accused had thoroughly prepared to commit this crime: they studied Nemtsov’s schedule, spied upon him, prepared suitable weapons, vehicles and communication equipment. On the day of the murder, 28 February, after following Nemtsov from his home, at about 11.31 p.m. Dadayev, having received a signal from Anzor Gubashev and Shavanov that the situation was suitable for the murder, shot Nemtsov at least six times as he walked across a bridge near the Kremlin. Nemtsov, 55, died at the scene succumbing to injuries.

The criminal case of the five accused, according to Markin, has been waiting for the approval of indictment. The investigation into Mukhudinov, the alleged mastermind behind this high-profile murder, who has been on the international wanted list since 2015 and other unidentified persons, is still going on, the Committee spokesman noted.