The trial of the murder of a Chechen Georgian in exile is due to start in Berlin at the beginning of October. The German government sees Russia involved in the crime.
A good year after the murder of a Georgian in Berlin’s KleinerTiergarten, the trial against the suspect is due to begin on October 7th. The 55-year-old Russian is accused of murder and a violation of the gun law, said a spokeswoman for the court.
In August last year, 40-year-old Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian with Chechen roots, was shot dead from a bicycle in the park near the government district. The suspect Russian Vadim Krasikov was arrested on the same day after young people saw him disappear into a bush shortly after the crime and then sank his bicycle and a bag in the Spree. He has been in custody ever since.
The so-called zoo murder had triggered a crisis in German-Russian relations. The German Federal Prosecutor’s office filed charges in mid-June and assumes that “government agencies” in Russia had commissioned the murder. The alleged perpetrator Krasikov is said to have traveled for the contract on August 17, 2019, initially from Moscow to Paris and later via Warsaw to Berlin.
The man killed had fought against Russian forces in the second Chechnya war. Later he worked for Georgian security authorities and continued to work against Russian interests in Ukraine. He had survived an assassination attempt before he died.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has in the past rejected Russia’s involvement in the murder. However, he called Khangoshvili a “bandit” after his death.
In December, the German government accused Russia of lacking cooperation in investigating the murder and therefore expelled two Russian diplomats. Moscow responded by expelling two German diplomats. A few weeks ago, German Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas once again described the Russian side as uncooperative.
The case is to be heard before the 2nd criminal division of the Higher Regional Court, which is responsible for state security matters. 25 negotiation dates have been set for the process until January 27, 2021.