A Moscow court has sentenced a Russian right-wing nationalist to life imprisonment for the murder of a prominent human rights lawyer and a journalist.
Nikita Tikhonov was found guilty of shooting advocate Stanislav Markelov in central Moscow in 2009. A journalist, Anastasia Baburova, who was with him at the time, was also shot dead.
The accused’s partner, Yevgenia Khasis, was also jailed for 18 years for helping to kill the pair.
The murders, carried out in broad daylight, had led to accusations that Russia was not doing enough to arrest killers of government critics.
Vladimir Markin is from the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation: “The work of the investigators in proving the guilt of the accused, has been validated by the jury. All the evidence, both direct and indirect has been satisfactorily recognised,” he says.
It was ten months after the murders before Tikhonov and Khasis were detained. Police sources say they have links to an illegal far-right group, Russian National Unity. Lawyers for the two say they’ll appeal the sentence.
Stanislav Markelov had angered nationalists by defending Chechens who were alleged victims of human rights violations. Journalist Anastasia Baburova was an active member of an anti-fascist group. Their deaths are the latest in a string of murders of human rights activists in Russia.