DUISI, Georgia -- A Georgian national, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who was shot dead in Berlin last week, has been buried in his native village of Duisi in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, the home of ethnic Chechens known as Kists.
Khangoshvili's body was transferred to the Pankisi Gorge on August 29 and buried hours later.
The 40-year-old Khangoshvili was shot to death in the German capital on August 23. German police arrested a 49-year-old Russian citizen as a suspect in the apparent assassination.
Many in the Duisi village say that Khangoshvili's killing was organized by Russian secret services.
The Kremlin has officially denied any involvement in the killing.
“There is a Russian trace in this case because [Khangoshvili] was a prominent fighter,” Khaso Khangoshvili, head of the council of elders in Pankisi Gorge, told RFE/RL during the funeral.
Civil activist Luiza Mutoshvili said that “everyone who was fighting for national independence or who lived for this idea have been targeted by the Russian special forces.”
Khangoshvili “is the victim of Russian special services. There can be no alternative version,” Mutoshvili said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on August 28 that "the case has nothing to do with Russia or its agencies."
Khangoshvili reportedly fought Russian troops during the Second Chechen War from 1999 to 2009, where he served as a rebel field commander from 2001 to 2005.
He later joined Georgian counterterrorist forces and played a key role in a Georgian operation against militants holding hostages in the remote Lopota Gorge near the border with Russia's North Caucasus region of Daghestan in 2012.
Russia has been accused by Western governments of organizing killings and attempted assassinations in foreign countries, including the poisonings of ex-spies Aleksandr Litvinenko and Sergei Skripal in England.