Relatives of murdered opposition politician Boris Nemtsov are seeking to have his case reclassified, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.
Vadim Prokhorov, lawyer for Nemtsov’s daughter, told journalists Tuesday of the family’s desire to have the case reclassified as political.
“It’s plainly obvious that the motive for Boris Nemtsov’s murder was not financial, but a determination to put a stop to his political and social activism,” Prokhorov said.
A Moscow court on Tuesday declined to send a request to the prosecutor’s office for the reclassification of the case to “attempted murder of a social or political activist,” which carries a minimum 12-year sentence. The charge of murder carries an eight-year minimum sentence.
“Refusal to reclassify the case shows that the authorities don’t wish to highlight that Boris Nemtsov was a social and political activist,” Prokhorov added.
The case could be reclassified during the trial.
Nemtsov was shot dead within sight of the Kremlin walls in February 2015. The trial of those accused of carrying out his murder is ongoing. Who ordered the killing remains unknown, but many analysts have alleged that senior figures in the Chechen government were behind the killing.
Prokhorov emphasized that until the organizers of the crime had been found, Nemtsov’s relatives would not consider the case closed, Interfax reported.
The five men suspected of killing Nemtsov were granted their request for a jury trial on Tuesday, the TASS news agency reported, citing a court spokesperson. Selection of the 12 jurors will begin after Aug. 24.
The men are accused of committing the murder as an organized hit, for financial compensation of up to 15 million rubles ($226,000).