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Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Boris Nemtsov Murder: Two Charged Including Former Chechen Policeman

Zaur Dadayev

(Photo : Reuters) Zaur Dadayev, charged over the killing of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, stands inside a defendants' cage inside a court building in Moscow, March 8, 2015.

Two men are facing charges for the killing of Russian opposition leader and Putin critic Boris Nemtsov, after one of them --- a former policeman, confessed to the crime. 

Authorities said Zaur Dadayev, a former senior policeman from Chechnya, admitted to have participated in the killing. The two suspects were among the five men dragged into a Moscow courtroom on Sunday and placed inside metal cages while members of the media take snapshots of them.

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Judge Natalia Mushnikova during Sunday's hearing said Dadayev's culpability to the crime was evident.

"Dadayev's involvement in committing this crime is confirmed by, apart from his own confession, the totality of evidence gathered as part of this criminal case," said Mushnikova.

The second man charged is Anzor Gubashev. The three other suspects include his brother Shagid Gubashev, Ramzan Bakhayev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov.

While Dadayev and Gubashev were the only ones charged, Mushnikova ordered all five men to be placed under police custody.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, also an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, described Dadayev as a devout Muslim who condemned the cartoons published by French Satirical Magazine Charlie Hebdo, that mocked Muslim Prophet Mohammad.

Nemtsov vocally defended the cartoons after a dozen people died in the deadly Islamist attack on the Charlie Hebdo office.

"All who know Zaur confirm that he is a deep believer and also that he, like all Muslims, was shocked by the activities of Charlie and comments in support of printing the cartoons," Kadyrov wrote on his Instagram account.

On Saturday, Russian authorities said another man, believed to have links to Nemtsov's death, was killed in a standoff with police. The man threw a grenade at police officers then blew himself up. 

Nemtsov was shot dead before midnight of February 27th just meters away from the Kremlin walls. The attack happened on the eve of a big opposition rally that Nemtsov was supposed to lead.

Nemtsov's death was said to be the most high-profile killing of an opposition figure under Putin's 15 year-reign. 

Some Nemtsov supporters had accused Kremlin to be behind the murder. Kremlin had denied the accusation and Putin immediately issued a statement condemning the killing.

The Kremlin-controlled investigation and court hearings were given extensive media coverage to show transparency in the conduct of the probe.

Nemtsov supporters, however, said justice for the opposition leader isn't just about putting the gunmen behind bars, but hunting down the mastermind as well.

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