A Russian jury convicted five men Thursday in the murder of Russian opposition leader and prominent Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, concluding a trial Nemtsov’s family has criticized as being insufficient.
Nemtsov, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critics, was killed while walking near the Kremlin in February 2015, just days before he was expected to help lead a major rally in Moscow opposing Russia’s war with Ukraine. The 55-year-old’s death shocked members of the country’s political opposition, which turned out in the tens of thousands to mourn his death.
Zaur Dadayev, a native of Russia’s North Caucasus region and a former Chechen soldier, was found guilty of shooting Nemtsov. Four other people, also Chechens, were convicted as accomplices: Anzor Gubashev, Shadid Gubashev, Khamzat Bakhayev, and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov. During the trial, the prosecution argued the men coordinated Nemtsov’s murder in exchange for 15 million rubles ($250,000), though investigators say they still don’t know who ordered the assassination. Dadayev originally confessed to the shooting, but later recanted, claiming he was tortured into giving the confession. All of the men have since maintained their innocence. Each faces between eight years to life in prison.