Nemtsov murder trial begins in Russia military court News
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Nemtsov murder trial begins in Russia military court

Five men accused of murdering Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov went on trial Monday in a Moscow military court. The five defendants, previously identified as Anzor Gubashev, Shagid Gubashev, Zaur Dadayev, Ramzan Bakhayev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov, are ethnic Chechens and could face [Al Jazeera report] up to eight years in prison. The men allegedly confessed to the crime but later retracted their confessions and now claim innocence. Nemtsov had previously served as prime minister and was since known as a prominent liberal political activist. In February 2015 he was shot in the back four times [BBC report] in the middle of busy downtown Moscow. Nemtsov was a known critic of Vladimir Putin and openly politically opposed to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its role in Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine have been in conflict since the annexation of Crimea [JURIST backgrounder] in March 2014. In February h Russia filed suit [JURIST report] against Ukraine over Ukraine’s default on $3 billion in bonds. A Ukrainian official said in January that the nation plans to sue Russia [JURIST report] in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] on claims of financing terrorism. In December the UN issues a report about serious human rights concerns [JURIST report] that persist in Ukraine. In August of last year a Russian military court sentenced [JURIST report] two Ukrainian activists to substantial jail time for the charge of conspiring to commit terror attacks. In March 2015 the EU committed [JURIST report] to stand by its policy of refusing to recognize Crimea’s annexation.