Moscow, March 11: Chechen Zaur Dadayev, who had confessed to being the mastermind behind the murder of Russian opposition leader and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, retracted his confession in an interview released by Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets on Wednesday.
“On the radio they say horrible things about us. I thought once I got to Moscow, I could tell the whole truth to the judge, to tell them that I am not guilty. But the judge did not even let me speak,” Dadayev told his public defender in an interview.
The ex-member of the Chechnya Special Forces, arrested on Friday in the neighbouring north Caucasus region of Ingushetia, complained that his confession was extracted by force, with beatings and threats by the arresting officers.
“They shouted at me all the time: ‘You killed Nemtsov, didn’t you?’ I said, ‘no’,” Dadayev said, adding that he spent two days bound and with a sack over his head. The Chechen suspect agreed to confess when they promised they would release his friend and former colleague, Ruslan Yusupov, who was arrested along with him.
“They said that if I confessed they would let him go. I agreed. I thought this would save him and they would bring me alive to Moscow,” Dadayev explained.
Shortly after the Russian news agency Rosbalt published Dadayev’s confession on Sunday, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov came out in defence of the prisoner, pointing out that Dadayev “is a true patriot who would not take any step against Russia”.
Dadayev insisted that for 11 years he fought crimils to defend Russia’s interests: “Where is the justice? Where should I put the medals they have honoured me with for my service?”
Judge talia Mushnikova announced on Tuesday that Dadayev confessed to his involvement in the murder of Nemtsov, and ordered him and his alleged co-conspirators, four citizens of the north Caucasus, to be held in custody. Vadim Prokhorov, Nemtsov’s posthumous lawyer, said that the murder was assuredly planned with the participation of the Russian secret service, given that the shooting happened just outside the walls of the Kremlin.
Nemtsov, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead at around midnight on February 27 near the Kremlin in the heart of the Russian capital Moscow, while he was strolling with Ukrainian model An Duritskaya. Putin had vowed to do everything to bring those responsible for the death of Nemtsov to justice. (IANS)