MOSCOW, October 3 (RAPSI, Oleg Sivozhelezov) – Five defendants in the criminal case over the murder of prominent opposition politician Boris Nemtsov pleaded not guilty on Monday, RAPSI reports from the Moscow District Military Court.

The court has begun trial on the merits. A prosecutor presented the short of indictment during the hearing following which the defense expressed position, agreed with the accused men, about their innocence. Each of the defendants asserted their innocence and expressed consent with their lawyers’ position.

At the beginning of the hearing victims’ lawyers, Olga Mikhaylova and Vadim Prokhorov, submitted a protest over earliness of the investigation completion. In particular, they claimed that officers and employees of the Chechen law enforcement agencies and the republic’s head Ramzan Kadyrov had not been questioned as part of investigation. The motive for the crime has not been established as well, according to the injured party.

Moreover, lawyers of Nemtsov’s family demanded to reclassify charges to “infringement on life of a state or public person.”

At the end of June, Russia’s Investigative Committee reported that investigation into the case of Zaur Dadayev, Anzor Gubashev, Shadid Gubashev, Temerlan Eskerkhanov, and Khamzat Bakhayev who stand charged with a contract murder in the composition of an organized gang, and of illegal acquisition, transportation and possession of firearms, had been completed.

According to investigators, in late September 2014, Ruslan Mukhudinov, a former officer in the Chechen Interior Ministry, and some unnamed persons offered Beslan Shavanov and the five accused to murder Nemtsov for 15 million rubles ($236,600).

Nemtsov was murdered in central Moscow on the night of February 28. In the 1990s, the politician held a number of high-ranking posts in the Russian Government. In the 2000s, he joined the opposition.

Prosecution of Shavanov was dismissed in November 2015 because of his death by self-destruction in the course of his apprehending in Chechnya.

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.