Five suspects are now being held in the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemstsov, who was shot to death outside the Kremlin last month. In addition to Anzor Kubashev and Zaur Dadayev, whose identities were announced on Saturday, three other men — Ramzan Bakhayev, Tamerlan Eskerkhanov, and Kubashev’s brother, Shagid — were, according to Reuters, “frogmarched into a Moscow courtroom on Sunday, forced by masked security officers gripping their bound arms to walk doubled over.” Meanwhile, the Russian media reported that a sixth suspect had died as the police tried to arrest him.
In Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, which borders Ingushetia, one suspect blew himself up with a grenade after tossing another one at law enforcement officials outside his apartment who were demanding that he surrender, Interfax reported. No one else was injured in the blasts, the report said.
Judge Natalia Mushnikova, who presided over Sunday’s hearing, said that Dadayev had admitted to being involved in the killing. Security official Albert Barakhoev told reporters that Dadayev had worked for the Interior Ministry in Chechnya, where he was part of a unit fighting Islamist insurgents.
The suspects (all of whom are reportedly Chechen) appear to be hit men, though the authorities didn’t provide any information on who might have hired them. Nemtsov’s supporters believe that his death is connected to President Vladimir Putin, of whom he was a vocal critic. (He was planning to release a report revealing new details of Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.) Among other theories, members of the Russian government have suggested that Nemtsov was killed by fellow members of the opposition in an effort to make Putin look bad and destabilize the country.