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Jury Deliberating In Trial Of Accused Nemtsov Killers

  • RFE/RL's Russian Service

Zaur Dadayev is accused of firing the fatal shots.

Jury deliberations in the trial of five men who are charged in connection with the 2015 killing of opposition politician and former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov have resumed after two jurors were dismissed for procedural violations.

Moscow military court Judge Yury Zhitnkov on June 27 removed one woman from the jury for failing to declare in advance that her husband, who died in 2013, had a criminal conviction.

A second juror was removed for allegedly bringing unauthorized materials from the case investigation into the courtroom.

"The juror will not tell us where he got the notes," prosecutor Maria Semenenko told the court. "He could not have made them himself because they were not part of the court proceedings. It is perfectly clear that someone gave them to him."

Boris Nemtsov
Boris Nemtsov

The removal of two of the 15 jurors should not affect the trial, as only 12 jurors are required to produce a valid verdict.

All five defendants, who are from the Russian North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, reaffirmed their innocence during closing remarks on June 21.

The five men -- Zaur Dadayev, Anzor Gubashev, Shagit Gubashev, Khamzat Bakhayev, and Tamerlain Eskerkhanov -- are accused of murder for hire. Former Chechen military driver Ruslan Mukhudinov has been charged in absentia with organizing the killing.

Nemtsov's family believes the murder was ordered by Mukhudinov's boss, Ruslan Germeyev, the deputy commander of Chechnya's notorious Sever battalion.

Dadayev is accused of firing the fatal shots, while Gubashev is accused of driving the getaway vehicle. The other three are accused of helping procure the murder weapon and of planning the crime.

Speaking in court on June 21, Gubashev called Nemtsov "a brave man" who was murdered because of his courage.

Nemtsov, who was a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and of Kremlin-installed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, was shot from behind on a Moscow bridge just outside the Kremlin on the night of February 28, 2105.

With reporting by the BBC, Ekho Moskvy, Kommersant, and TASS
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