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Volunteers have set up a makeshift monument on the bridge. (file photo)

A group of pro-Kremlin nationalist activists attacked two volunteers who were guarding a makeshift memorial on the Moscow bridge where former First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov was shot dead.

On the night of September 7-8, about 10 activists from the East Radical Block (SERB) nationalist group sprayed pepper spray into the face of Grigory Samsonov and damaged a camera held by Pavel Kolesnikov at the memorial.

The attackers also threw feces at the men.

Kolesnikov told the OVD-Info rights-monitoring group that SERB leader Igor Beketov was among the attackers.

The vandals then stole flowers and portraits of Nemtsov and fled the scene.

Police did not arrive after the volunteers called and reported the incident.

Nemtsov, who was a leading opposition figure and an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down on the bridge near the Kremlin on February 27, 2015.

Five men from Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya were convicted of the murder, but it remains unknown who ordered Nemtsov's killing.

Authorities have refused to erect a memorial to the politician, so volunteers organized the makeshift monument near the place where he died.

Pro-Kremlin thugs have repeatedly attacked the volunteers who maintain a 24-hour guard at the site.

On August 15, 2017, an unknown assailant beat 35-year-old volunteer Ivan Skripnichenko. He died in the hospital on August 23 after undergoing surgery to repair damage to his nose.

In September 2017, SERB leader Beketov wrote on social media that his organization had removed a plaque honoring Nemtsov from the Moscow apartment building where he lived, less than one week after activists had erected it.

With reporting by OVD-Info
Mother Of Tajik Attack Suspect Pours Gasoline On Herself In Protest
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DUSHANBE -- The mother of a Tajik man who is suspected of carrying out a fatal attack against a group of foreign cyclists in the Central Asian country in July poured gasoline on herself outside the Dushanbe office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Gulhehra Shodmonova was approached by police and taken into custody after the incident on September 7.

Shodmonova was protesting the participation of the leader of the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), Muhiddin Kabiri, in a human-rights conference sponsored by the OSCE.

Shodmonova and the Tajik authorities have accused Kabiri of influencing her son, Hussein Abdusamadov, and leading him astray.

Abdusamadov was detained on July 31 and is accused of being the "cell leader" of a group of five Tajik men suspected of carrying out the July 29 attack on a highway some 120 kilometers from Dushanbe, in which a car rammed into the group of cyclists before multiple attackers emerged from the vehicle and stabbed survivors, killing two Americans, a Swiss, and a Dutch national. Two foreign cyclists were injured.

The extremist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack shortly after it occurred and released a video showing five men -- at least some of whom appeared to resemble those identified by Tajik officials as suspects killed in a confrontation with security forces -- pledging allegiance to the IS leader. But the government maintained the suspects were members of the IRPT, which they have blamed for the attack.

In a television appearance on September 4 that was organized by the Tajik security agency, Abdusamadov confessed to the crime and said he carried it out at the behest of IRPT member Kori Nosir. Such public confessions are common in the former Soviet Union, and rights activists say detainees are sometimes forced to make them.

The leadership of the IRPT has denied responsibility for the attack, calling the authorities' claims "baseless and irrational."

Tajik authorities have imprisoned dozens of IRPT officials and members since 2015, when the party was designated a "terrorist organization" by the Supreme Court and banned. The ban on the party and prosecution of its members have drawn criticism from international human rights groups and the UN.

Activists accuse President Emomali Rahmon's government of using the group -- which was formerly the only registered Islamic political party in former Soviet Central Asia -- as a scapegoat for unrest and attacks in the predominantly Muslim country that borders Afghanistan.

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