Gang jailed for killing Russian politician Boris Nemtsov

Former deputy prime minister and Union of Right Forces presidential candidate Boris Nemtsov speaks during an interview at Echo of Moscow radio station in Moscow in this December 26 2007

Former deputy prime minister and Union of Right Forces presidential candidate Boris Nemtsov speaks during an interview at Echo of Moscow radio station in Moscow in this December 26 2007

The other four Chechen men convicted of being his accomplices received jail sentences ranging from 11 to 19 years.

A Russian court has sentenced five men convicted of murdering opposition leader Boris Nemtsov to 20 years in jail.

Nemtsov was shot dead in February 2015.

Nemtsov, a 55-year-old former deputy prime minister, was a leading opponent of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and his assassination sent shockwaves through Russia's beleaguered opposition supporters. Those who ordered the killing, they argue, are being protected by the authorities in a trail that leads to the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya and its leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

His death also came ahead of the release a controversial report implicating the Russian military in the Ukraine conflict.

Zaur Dadayev, a former officer in the Chechen security forces, was found guilty of having pulled the trigger as Nemtsov crossed Moscow's Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge in 2015.

"Zaur Dadayev shall be sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment in a strict regime penal colony, as well as a fine of 100,000 rubles", judge Yury Zhitnikov said when reading the sentence. The murder was the most high-profile political killing in the country since Putin rose to power 17 years ago.

The four accomplices - Anzor and Shadid Gubashev, Tamerlan Eskerkhanov and Khamzat Bakhayev - all proclaimed their innocence throughout the case.

Vadim Prokhorov, a lawyer for Nemtsov's daughter Zhanna, said: 'The shortcoming of this sentencing is that those who ordered and organised this crime are not in the dock'.

Shamsudin Tsakayev, Dadayev's lawyer, told Reuters after the sentencing that there was "incontrovertible proof" that his client had not committed the crime.

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