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Moscow Court Sets July 25 Start Date For Nemtsov Murder Trial

The Moscow District Military Court announced it will start hearing a criminal case on July 25 against five Chechnyan defendants charged with Boris Nemtsov's murder.

The hearing will be held behind closed doors and the defense team, which asserts the defendants are innocent, is expected to ask for a trial by jury.

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office last month charged Zaur Dadayev, Anzor Gubashev, Shadid Gubashev, TemirlanEskerkhanov, and Khamzat Bakhayev, with playing a role in what it said was a contract killing of Nemtsov.

Nemtsov, a Kremlin critic and former deputy prime minister, was gunned down near the Kremlin on February 27, 2015.

Prosecutors said the defendants expected to earn 15 million rubles ($232,000) for the killng.

The suspected mastermind of the killing, Ruslan Mukhudinov, a member of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s security forces, remains at large and investigators have put out an international arrest warrant.

Nemtsov's relatives and lawyers have expressed skepticism about the prosecution, insisting that the killing must have been ordered by high-ranking Russian officials.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS