Russian government ordered murder of Chechen in Berlin, German court rules

The Guardian

By Philip Oltermann
People hold portraits of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili during a protest in Tbilisi, Georgia, in September 2019. Photograph: Zurab Kurtsikidze/EPA

A German court has sentenced a 56-year-old Russian man to life in prison over what it said was the painstakingly planned assassination of a Berlin-based Chechen dissident at the behest of Russian authorities.

Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old Georgian citizen who fought against Russia during the second Chechen war in the early 2000s, was shot twice in the head at close range in the Kleiner Tiergarten park in central Berlin in August 2019.

The killing sparked outrage in Germany and prompted the government to expel two Russian diplomats, leading to a reciprocal response by Moscow. The verdict is likely to further strain Russian-German diplomatic relations and will come as a first test for the new German government of chancellor Olaf Scholz and its foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock.

Publish : 2021-12-15 19:37:00

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