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Nemtsov suspect in court plea over 'forced confession'

Suspect Khamzat Bakhayev, 1 Apr 15, on video screen Image copyright EPA
Image caption The suspects remain in custody and appeared on a TV screen

The main suspect in the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has made an impassioned plea in court, saying he was forced into a confession.

Appearing via a video link from prison, Zaur Dadayev said there was no evidence against him, "just the one statement that I gave - under pressure".

The court said Mr Dadayev and another suspect should be kept in custody.

It ordered the detention of three other men to be reviewed.

The five suspects are from the North Caucasus.

Mr Dadayev, accused of being the gunman who shot Mr Nemtsov near the Kremlin on 27 February, used his court appearance on Wednesday to repeat his previous claims that he had confessed to the crime under duress.

He said he made his original statement after being threatened with death, and the death of a friend.

"[Investigators] told me what to say, how to say it and where to say it."

Image caption Mr Dadayev confessed soon after his arrest, but later alleged that he had been tortured into making the statement

He said there was no proof against him, and told the court he had an alibi for the time the murder took place.

Responding to his comments, a Russian investigator said there was ample proof against Mr Dadayev - not just his confession but also witness statements, evidence from searches, and photographs.

The Moscow City Court rejected his appeal for bail and ordered him to remain in custody alongside another suspect, Anzor Gubashev.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Khamzat Bakhayev is separated from his seven children and feels depressed, his lawyer says

However the court ruled it was necessary to re-examine the case against Khamzat Bakhayev, who has seven young children, due to a procedural error.

It said the detention of Tamerlan Eskerkhanov and Shadid Gubashev should be reviewed for the same reason, although the men will be held in prison until a decision is reached.

Investigators say they are still trying to determine who ordered the killing, which happened at night on a bridge near the Kremlin, in the heart of Moscow.

Friends of Mr Nemtsov say he was targeted for his political views - as a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin and of the war in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are backed by Russian "volunteer" soldiers.

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