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Published in Stream:
Russian Update: March 17, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
New Information on Nemtsov Murder Investigation Shows Suspects' Prior Relationship
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Yesterday we reported the latest on the investigation into the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov; now there are reversals of some of the claims and new information.

Yesterday, sources told RBC.ru that the charges were being changed to turn the case from a contract murder motivated by financial gain to a hate crime motivated by religious fervor. We wondered why there was no court action to reflect this.

But Zaurbek Sadakhayev, the lawyer for the latest and fifth suspect, Khamzat (Khamzad) Bakhayev, said that as far as he knew, the charges were unchanged because he had not received anything from the investigation.

None of the suspects are cooperating any more with the investigation, RBC.ru reported today, and all have plead Art. 51 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees the right not to incriminate oneself.

Novaya Gazeta has made a list of 10 points about the Nemtsov murder case to help readers to keep up. We have a long list of strange things going on in Moscow with these same points.

Among the 10 are some new points of information:

It was actually the Federal Corrections Service of Ingushetia that made the arrest of Zaur Dadayev in Ingushetia. It turns out that a man in the car with Dadayev was a drug dealer whose phone was tapped. Law-enforcers were following him, and then found Dadayev and the others.

When the Nazran Interior Ministry Department brought the detainees in for questioning, Chechen law-enforcers tried to put pressure on them, evidently to let them go. This situation was then "rectified" by the Federal Security Service (FSB) spetsnaz which came to the region and took over. Fearing that Dadayev might be kidnapped, the spetsnaz landed at the Nazran police in masks with a show of force and took Dadayev directly to Moscow with a sack over his head.

Dadayev is the only one of the suspects who gave a full confession on videotape, saying that he was motivated not only by religious concerns but cash. Then later, when Kadyrov spoke up on his behalf and there was a lot of media, he withdrew his confession.

Dadayev's relatives say Alibek Delimkhanov, the brother of Senator Adam Delimkhanov, flew with him to Moscow before the murder of Nemtsov and then returned to Grozny on February 28.

RBC.ru also has some new information.

The media has not said much about Temerlan Eskerkhanov (as his name is now being spelled) other than to relay his claim that he was not involved in the murder and had an alibi. He previously served in the Interior Ministry in Shelkovsky District when it was headed by Vakha Geremeyev, the cousin of Senator Delimkhanov and also the brother of Senator Suleyman Geremeyev who has been a witness in a number of high-profile criminal cases. Police in Dubai suspected that Delimkhanov was behind the murder of Sulim Yamadayev, and there is an Interpol notice out for him.

Eskerkhanov moved to Moscow about six months before the murder, and found work as a bouncer at the Duran Club. His brother told RBC.ru that Eskerkhanov sent his entire pay back home, as he has six children, two of whom he took under his care when his two brothers were murdered. Temerlan was arrested on the night of March 5-6 at a house in the village of Kozino in Odintsovsky District where he was found with the other suspects. His brother says this was accidental as he was homeless and would go around to sleep over at the homes of various fellow Chechens.

Novaya Gazeta reported about a dossier that supposedly went to President Putin in which the name "Ruslan" was mentioned -- and this was ultimately surmised to be Ruslan Geremeyev, nephew of Adam Delimkhanov and Suleyman Geremeyev who also served in the Sever Battalion with Dadayev and Shuvanov, the 6th suspect who died after throwing a grenade when police knocked on his door.

According to some press, police have not sought Ruslan Geremeyev in connection with the case. Relatives have been unable to reach his, his phone doesn't answer and his home in Shelkovsky District is closed. Yet according to Novaya Gazeta, Ruslan Geremeyev is now aid to be under heavy guard in Grozny.

The mere fact of being related to another person isn't proof of a crime -- a principle that the Russia media does not seem to affirm. But it's easy to understand why -- this is a family with a history of involvement in criminal cases and suspicion of hit jobs on Kadryov's enemies, including one wanted by the UAE.

RBCDaily.ru has a further story from Ruslan Eskerkhanov that his brother was introduced to Zaur Dadayev by his fellow policeman Ruslan Geremeyev (translation by The Interpreter):

My brother served as a policeman in the Shelkovsky District, in the Interior Ministry. His duties were simple -- lift up the barrier and let in cars. He was acquainted with Geremeyev from having met him at various functions and holidays in Grozny. Geremeyev is himself a native of our Shelkovsky District.

Another source told RBC.ru that Geremeyev met Dadayev in the Zink Bar on Veyernaya Street in western Moscow, and that Geremeyev and Dadayev were sharing an apartment on that same street. Dadayev had followed Geremeyev to Moscow from Grozny six months ago.

Eskerkhanov denied that he knew Dadayev, he had only seen him 3-4 times -- at the Zinc Bar, at the Radisson Hotel, at the banya and twice when he brought some groceries to the apartment. He remembers once talking to Dadayev on the phone about how to get to the next level in a computer game.

Eskherkhanov is charged with Arts. 33, 105 and 222, which is serving as an accomplice in the preparation of a murder; organizing of a murder; and unlawful possession of a weapon, his lawyer Roza Magomedova reports. Eskerkhanov's brother, Ruslan told RBC.ru that investigators told him that Temerlan was the one to tail Nemtsov before the murder. But Temerlan's other lawyer Dmitry Ulyanov said his client is innocent and that he has an alibi, with a video camera showing he was at work at his club at the time of the murder. .

Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Presidential Human Rights Council said he had asked Lefortovo Prison authorities if he could visit Dadayev but has had no response.

- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick