Russian rights council: The suspect who was blamed for Putin critic's killing likely confessed under torture

Zaur Dadayev Nemtsov killingREUTERS/Tatyana MakeyevaZaur Dadayev, charged with involvement in the murder of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, looks out from a defendants’ cage inside a court building in Moscow March 8, 2015.

Moscow (AFP) – A former Chechen police officer who admitted to taking part in the murder of Russian opposition activist Boris Nemtsov “likely confessed under torture”, a member of the Kremlin’s rights council told AFP Wednesday.

“There are reasons that lead us to believe Zaur Dadayev confessed under torture,” said Andrei Babushkin, adding he had seen “numerous wounds” on the body of the prime suspect in the killing during a visit to his cell on Tuesday.

Nemtsov was shot dead last week in the highest-profile killing of its kind during Vladimir Putin’s 15-year reign as prime minister and president.

Because of Nemtsov’s status as an opposition leader and former deputy prime minister, many of his supporters believe Putin was to blame for his death. He was attacked 200 meters from the Kremlin walls, according to one reporter in Moscow.

Russia’s finance ministry says the car being sought in connection with Nemtsov’s killing belonged to an “in-house security service” for the ministry, furthering suspicions that the Russian government was involved in his death.

Nemtsov served as a deputy prime minister and a regional governor in Russia in the 1990s, when he helped put free-market reforms in place. Ukraine’s president believes Nemtsov was killed because he had evidence that Russia armed forces in Ukraine.

A Putin representative has denied that the Kremlin was involved in Nemtsov’s death.

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