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Russian Senator Detained on Murder Charges Inside Parliament

Rauf Arashukov (Valery Sharifulin / TASS)

A Russian senator has been detained on murder charges during a live session at the Federation Council building in Moscow on Wednesday.

Rauf Arashukov, 32, who represents the North Caucasus republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, was detained inside Russia’s upper chamber of parliament, Russian state media reported, citing sources present at the session.

Russia’s Investigative Committee later confirmed that Arashukov had been apprehended over his suspected involvement in two murders committed in 2010 "and other crimes."

"He was detained as part of an investigated criminal case,” the committee said in a statement, adding that the operation took place after the Federation Council had ruled to strip Rauf Arashukov of his parliamentary immunity.

Arashukov has been charged with the murder of Circassian activist Aslan Zhukov, who was shot dead in March 2010 in the regional capital of Cherkessk, as well as the May 2010 murder of Circassian politician Fral Shebzukhov, investigators revealed.

The RBC news website reported last September that a suspect in the Zhukov case had named Arashukov as having ordered the killing. The news website also reported that two suspects alleged during interrogations that Arashukov had given 1 million rubles to kill Zhukov, as well as 500,000 rubles to “intimidate and beat up” Shebzukhov.

Update: Raul Arashukov, Raul's father, was detained later on Wednesday on suspicion of embezzling over 30 billion rubles ($455 million) worth of natural gas from Russia's Gazprom gas giant, the Investigative Committee said.

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