Russian media went into a frenzy when former Chechen policeman Zaur Dadayev confessed to the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, but now Dadayev claims authorities forced him to confess and tortured him in the process.
Andrei Babushkin, a member of the Russian Human Rights Council, and journalist Yeva Merkachyova visited Dadadyev and found wounds on him that indicated he had been tortured. They also met with Anzor Gubashev, his brother Shagid, Khamzad Bakhaev, and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov. Dadayev first showed Merkachyova the marks on his body:
-Here are the marks of handcuffs, and it is from the shackles on their feet and chains.
– You sure?
– Two nights spent with the bag over my head. I saved it. It is now in my personal belongings, a yellow cloth (wardens did not find this package to show us – Ed.). All the while shouting: “You killed Nemtsov?” I replied that I do not. At the moment of detention, I was with a friend, with my former subordinates Ruslan Yusupov. And they said that if I agree, then let him go. I agreed. I thought he was rescued, and they would take me to Moscow alive. Otherwise what happened to [Beslan] Shavanov would have happened to me. He supposedly blew himself up with a grenade.
He told her he found out about Shavanov’s death from a radio report. He promised to tell the truth in court, to declare his innocence. But he said the judge did not give him a chance to clear his name.
“I fought the criminals since I was 11 years old, defended the interests of Russia, but I cannot defend myself because I did not have time to explore some of the CCP?” he asked. “Where is the justice? Why not put behind bars those who are against Russia, why aren’t they suspects instead of me? What do I do with those medals that I received?”
“But who can prove my innocence?”
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, proclaimed the murderer of Nemtsov as a hero and a “patriot of Russia.” After the Kremlin arrested Dadayev, Kadryov took to his Instagram account to praise him. He claimed Dadayev was “fully devoted to Russia” and acted in response to Nemtsov’s support of Charlie Hebdo.
“I knew Zaur as a genuine Russian patriot,” declared Kadyrov. “He was the deputy commander of the battalion, and one of the most fearless and courageous soldiers of the regiment.”
Now Babushkin and Merkachyova may face an investigation since they allegedly “went beyond their remit by inquiring about the criminal case, which violated ‘not only the established norm, but the law.’”