Moscow Court Sentences Nemtsov’s Killer to 20 Years

A man found guilty of shooting opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in the back was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday.

Zaur Dadayev, a former officer in the Chechen security forces, was found guilty of having pulled the trigger as Nemtsov crossed Moscow’s Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge in 2015. Prosecutors had requested a life sentence for Dadayev.

Four other accomplices also received lengthy prison terms on Thursday.

Judge Yury Zhitnikov sentenced Anzor Gubashev to 19 years in an extra-security prison and his brother Shadid Gubashev to 16 years. Temirlan Eskerkhanov was handed 14 years and Khamzat Bakhayev 11 years, the Interfax news agency reports. The court also stripped Dadayev and Eskerkhanov of their military ranks and awards.

The five men were charged with Nemtsov’s death in December 2015. A sixth suspect, Beslan Shavanov, killed himself with a grenade while resisting arrest.

The Gubashev brothers and Eskerkhanov traced Nemtsov’s movements prior to the killing, while Bakhayev provided information and helped the group hide after the murder, the court was told during court hearings.

The men were allegedly offered 15 million rubles ($240,000) to murder the politician.

Despite the guilty verdict handed out by the court last week, Nemtsov’s relatives and supporters argue the men in the court-room are mere pawns. Those who ordered the killing, they argue, are being protected by the authorities in a trail that leads to the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya and its leader Ramzan Kadyrov.