A Chechen convicted of slaying Ruslan Yamadayev, a former State Duma deputy and powerful rival of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, on a Moscow street in 2008 was jailed for 20 years Monday, while the Chechen who drove the getaway car got 15 years.
The Moscow City Court handed down the lengthy sentences to the gunman, Aslanbek Dadayev, 33, and the driver, Elimpasha Khatsuyev, 39, after a 15-week trial, a lawyer for a third defendant on trial, Musa Khadisov, told The Moscow Times.
The court did not establish who organized the attack, which Yamadayev's brother Isa long blamed on Kadyrov. Isa, however, unexpectedly made peace with Kadyrov in August.
Isa, who attended Monday's sentencing with several bodyguards, told reporters outside the court that he had hoped for "a more severe verdict of life in prison, given that the convicts were also involved in attacks on servicemen in Chechnya," Interfax reported.
The court did not convict the defendants of killing servicemen, Khadisov said.
Khadisov's client, Chechen native Timur Isayev, 31, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for teaming up with Dadayev to make an attempt on the life of banker Alexander Antonov and his guard Alexander Komarov, who were injured in a shootout in Moscow on March 11, 2009.
The court also ordered Dadayev to pay 4 million rubles ($131,000) and Khatsuyev to pay 1 million rubles ($33,000) in damages to Isa, Khadisov said.
Isayev was fined 4,000 rubles ($130), he said.
The three defendants were also convicted of illegal weapons possession.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to all the charges, except Khatsuyev who admitted to illegal weapons possession.
The defense lawyers vowed to appeal.
"The court did not listen to our arguments," Khadisov said.
Khatsuyev's lawyer Zaur Samkhanov told Gazeta.ru that "the judge didn't even mention the defense's arguments in the verdict."
Prosecutor Amalia Ustayeva told reporters that she was satisfied with the sentences, RIA-Novosti reported.
The court found that Khatsuyev drove the BMW that pulled up to the Mercedes driven by Yamadayev during Moscow rush-hour traffic on Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya on Sept. 24, 2008. Dadayev fired 16 bullets from within the BMW, killing Yamadayev and injuring former Chechen military commander Sergei Kizyun, who was sitting next to Yamadayev.
Isa's former bodyguard Khavazhi Yusupov has told investigators that Kadyrov personally ordered the killings of Ruslan and another brother, Sulim Yamadayev, and offered $1 million to kill Isa. Sulim was gunned down in Dubai in March 2009.
Yusupov was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison on attempted murder charges in June. An Iranian and a Tajik were convicted in Sulim's killing and sentenced to 25 years in a Dubai prison in April.
Isa's lawyer, Yury Yefimenkov, did not take repeated calls on his cell phone for comment Monday.