A Russian court has charged two men over the killing of leading opposition figure Boris Nemtsov and ordered three other suspects to remain in jail pending a decision on whether to file charges.
Russian news agencies said one of those charged has admitted involvement in the crime.
Judge Nataliya Mushnikova said that Zaur Dadaev made a statement confirming his guilt, according to reports by Tass and RIA-Novosti, and the independent Interfax. They did not specify his alleged actions. Tass said Dadaev did not acknowledge guilt in his courtroom appearance, but only asked for a fair trial.
Dadaev is one of two suspects whose detention was announced in the first significant development of the investigation. The other, Anzor Gubashev, was also charged but told the court he was not guilty.
Three other suspects, whose detention was made formally known only when they showed up in the court, were remanded to jail but there were no immediate charges. They include Gubashev’s younger brother Shagid, along with Khamzad Bakhaev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov, Tass reported.
Dadaev and the Gubashevs were arrested in Ingushetia, a small republic in Russia’s tense North Caucasus, and the other two in suburban Moscow before dawn yesterday, officials said.
Dadaev served in a battalion of Interior Ministry troops in neighbouring Chechnya, Ingush Security Council secretary Albert Barakhoev was quoted as telling Russian agencies.
He said Gubashev had worked in a private security company in Moscow.
Law enforcement officials have asserted the guilt of all five, but have not said how they were allegedly involved in the February 27 killing. The 55-year-old former deputy prime minister, who became an adamant critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead as he walked near the Kremlin with a companion, hours after he had made a radio appearance denouncing Mr Putin for “mad, aggressive” policies in Ukraine. Mr Nemtsov was working on a report detailing Russian involvement in the war between pro-Russia separatist rebels and Ukrainian forces, associates said.