Russia: Killer of Putin Critic Nemtsov Gets 20 Years in Prison

Russia: Killer of Putin Critic Nemtsov Gets 20 Years in Prison

Russia: Killer of Putin Critic Nemtsov Gets 20 Years in Prison

A Russian court last month convicted Zaur Dadayev and four accomplices - all ethnic Chechens - for the February 2015 assassination of Nemtsov, a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin.

Security forces controlled by Kremlin-installed Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov have been accused of gross human rights abuses for many years, including abductions, torture, and killings. Prosecutor Maria Semenenko said a decision on whether to appeal the sentence would be made after studying the judge's decision. Investigators said they are still gathering evidence in an attempt to discover who organized the murder.

Prosecutors had initially asked for longer sentences for all of the defendants, including a life sentence for Dadayev.

Nemtsov's close ally, the opposition politician Ilya Yashin, criticised the sentence for Dadayev and said: "It's impossible to consider the crime solved while the masterminds and organisers are still at liberty".

Another suspect, Beslan Shavanov, was killed in Grozny several days after Nemtsov's murder.

One of the young liberal politicians who sprang to prominence after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Nemtsov was once considered a possible successor by Boris Yeltsin, the first president of Russian Federation.

The men - Zaur Dadayev, Shadid Gubashev, Temirlan Eskerkhanov, Khamzat Bakhayev and Anzor Gubashev - were found guilty by a Russian jury.

Nemtsov was working on a report on the conflict and how the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea joined Russian Federation following a referendum in 2014.

Allies of Nemtsov fear the people behind the assassination will never be brought to justice, and a mass rally was held in Moscow after his killing. "And the separate criminal case over who organized and ordered this murder must be completed", Fedotov told Interfax, commenting on the sentencing of Nemtsov's killers.

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