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Chechen Gets 15 Years In Prison For Budanov Killing

  • RFE/RL

Ethnic Chechen Yusup Temirkhanov was found guilty of murdering Russian ex-Colonel Yury Budanov

Ethnic Chechen Yusup Temirkhanov was found guilty of murdering Russian ex-Colonel Yury Budanov

The Moscow City Court has sentenced Yusup Temerkhanov, an ethnic Chechen, to 15 years in prison for the murder of former Russian Army Colonel Yury Budanov.

The sentencing on May 7 came one week after a jury found Temerkhanov guilty.

In February, the court dismissed the previous jury, citing the "inability of some jurors to attend the process."

BLOG: Temerkhanov's Sentencing For Budanov Murder Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

The defendant's lawyer insisted that the jury was dismissed to prevent it from acquitting his client.

Before the previous jury's dismissal, a witness in the case had changed his description of the killer, saying the defendant did not look like the man who shot Budanov in 2011.

"We will certainly appeal the verdict," Murad Masaev, Temerkhanov's defense lawyer, said after the verdict. "We will also though investigate countless crimes that our opponents committed in order to achieve this guilty verdict. All sorts of truths and deceptions have been resorted to for the sake of the sentence as well as the guilty verdict, while deceptions prevailed. There is a large array of them, including the kidnapping of our defendant and witnesses, up to criminal cases filed against the defense, etc."

Budanov was killed in Moscow two years after his early release from prison, where he served time for killing an 18-year-old Chechen woman, Elza Kungayeva.

Budanov's initial acquittal and eventual early release infuriated many people, including critics who accuse Russian forces of consistently violating the rights of Chechens during the past two decades of conflict in the region.

"There was no pressure whatsoever neither against the witnesses nor [Yusup] Temerkhanov himself," Maria Semenenko, a member of the prosecutors' team, said. "The trial was handled in accordance with every existing principle of legal proceedings, competitiveness and equality of both parties. No pressure was applied and the verdict stands as a proof. All witness statements have been taken into account, including the statements of the defense witnesses who had been supporting Temerkhanov's alibi. And hence the verdict."

With reporting by RIA-Novosti, Rossiya 24, and ITAR-TASS