MOSCOW, April 6 (RAPSI) – Zaur Dadayev who stands charged with killing opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in late February to demand a jury trial, Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday.
Nemtsov, co-chair of the Republican Party of Russia - People’s Freedom Party (RPR-PARNAS) and former first deputy prime minister in the Yeltsin government, was fatally shot as he walked home with a girlfriend in central Moscow late on the night of February 27. He joined the opposition in the 2000s.
Five men were arrested on suspicion of killing Nemtsov: Zaur Dadayev, Anzor Gubashev, Shadid Gubashev, Khamzat Bakhayev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov.
The alleged killer, Zaur Dadayev, initially pleaded guilty and testified against the other suspects, but later retracted his testimony in court, saying he was coerced to incriminate himself.
According to a source close to the investigative team, Dadayev’s attorneys have hinted about their intention to request a trial by jury. Their hope is that a jury would disregard the alleged coerced confession of a suspect who later withdrew his testimony.
The newspaper writes that investigators are collecting additional evidence against the alleged killer. Sources say that they have found another witness who saw how Nemtsov was killed. Information about this person will be kept confidential until the trial. The newspaper adds that the Investigative Committee has sent a grenade which allegedly belonged to Dadayev to experts for examination.
Dadayev has also been charged with illegal arms and munitions trafficking.
Investigators are considering several motives for Nemtsov’s murder, including contract killing, but they have ruled out a religious hate crime. The official charges were brought against the suspects under Criminal Code articles on a premeditated contract murder committed by a group of individuals.