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Colonel Budanov's Killer Gets 15 Years

A Chechen native convicted last week of gunning down Russian colonel Yury Budanov in a Moscow street in June 2011 was sentenced by a jury on Tuesday to 15 years in a maximum-security prison.

The convict, Yusup Temerkhanov, will appeal the guilty verdict handed down by the Moscow City Court, his lawyer Murad Musayev told Interfax.

The confession was "beaten out" of Temerkhanov after he and several witnesses were abducted, his lawyer said, adding that the jury was also misled.

"Our opponents obtained the guilty verdict using every trick in the book, and we will investigate all their multiple crimes," Musayev said.

Prosecutor Maria Semenenko said that no pressure had been put on the jurors. "The litigation took place in conditions of publicity," she said in comments carried by Interfax.

"Witnesses who confirmed Temerkhanov's alibi testified in court, but the jury still issued this guilty verdict," Semenenko said.

Temerkhanov was arrested in August 2011. According to investigators, the murder was prompted by Temerkhanov's desire for revenge against Budanov, whom he thought to be implicated in his father's death in a counterterrorism operation in 2000 in the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya.

During the trial, prosecutors also said Temerkhanov harbored a deep hatred toward all Russian servicemen, and that Budanov's high profile after being charged with wartime abuses made him a target.

Budanov himself had served several years in prison after being convicted of killing a Chechen girl, Elza Kungayeva, 18, who he said he thought was a sniper.

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