A court in Moscow has ordered that the mayor of Makhachkala, the capital of the Russia’s troubled Daghestan region, be held in pretrial detention for two months.
A statement from the Federal Investigative Committee on June 2 said that Mayor Said Amirov will be charged "within ten days."
Amirov was detained on June 1 and transported by military helicopter to Moscow for questioning about his suspected involvement in the murder in December 2011 of Investigative Committee official Arsen Gadjibekov in the city of Kaspiisk, Daghestan.
Ten of Amirov’s subordinates were also detained, including Amirov’s nephew, Kaspiisk's Deputy Mayor Yusup Djafarov.
Sitting in a cage during a preliminary court hearing Amirov claimed he did "not know why" he had been arrested.
"This is a politically fabricated case that has no prospect [of success]," he said. "I can answer for every deed and every word of mine. We will see, everything will settle down in time."
Outside the courtroom, Amirov’s lawyer, Mark Ruter, told reporters he would appeal against Amirov's detention.
"There can be no doubt whatsoever -- we will appeal [against Said Amirov's arrest]," he said. "We believe that [Said Amirov] has been pushed towards the edge between life and death with this detention and investigation."
Amirov, 59, was first elected mayor in 1998.
He has survived more than a dozen assassination attempts, one of which, in 1993, left him paralyzed and wheelchair-bound.
Daghestan is an ethnically mixed, mostly Muslim region between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea.
With militants there saying that they are fighting to carve an Islamic state out of southern Russia, it has become the most violent province in the North Caucasus.
With reporting by AFP, Interfax, and ITAR-TASS