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Russian Lawmaker Facing Murder Charges Loses His Mandate


Rauf Arashukov in court in Moscow in January

A Russian lawmaker from the ruling party who was arrested on murder charges during a parliament session in January has been stripped of his seat in the Federation Council, Russia's upper parliament house.

All 153 Federation Council members present on May 22 voted to deprive Rauf Arashukov of his status as a lawmaker, formally citing his failure to submit a mandatory annual income declaration by the April 1 deadline.

Arashukov, 32, was detained at a dramatic session of the upper house on January 30 after fellow lawmakers voted to strip him of his immunity from prosecution.

He is in custody on several charges, including organizing two contract killings in the North Caucasus region of Karachai-Cherkesia in 2010.

The charges against Arashukov, who could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted, also include participation in a "criminal community" and witness-tampering.

Arashukov represented Karachai-Cherkessia in the Federation Council. His membership in the regional branch of the Kremlin-controlled United Russia party was suspended after his arrest.

Authorities alleged he was behind the 2010 killings of Fral Shebzukhov, an adviser to the leader of Karachai-Cherkessia at the time, and Aslan Zhukov, deputy chairman of a youth movement in the mostly Muslim region.

His father, Raul Arashukov, 59, who is a lawmaker in Karachai-Cherkessia and an adviser to the chief executive of a Gazprom subsidiary, was also arrested along with several other people including Rauf Arashukov's cousin.

With reporting by Vedomosti and TASS
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