German prosecutors have filed murder charges against a Russian man accused of the brazen daylight slaying in Berlin of a Georgian man last year.
The victim, Tornike K., who also has widely been identified in reports on the killing as Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, was a Georgian citizen of Chechen ethnicity who fought against Russian troops in Chechnya.
He was shot through the head in a Berlin park last August by a man on a bicycle who was later seen throwing a wig into the nearby River Spree.
On Thursday, federal prosecutors filed charges of murder and a violation of weapons laws against a Russian citizen they identified as Vadim K., alias Vadim S.
They also said the killing was ordered by the Russian state, led by Vladimir Putin – adding to tensions between the two countries.
German prosecutors have filed murder charges against a Russian man accused of the brazen daylight slaying in Berlin of a Georgian man Zelimkhan Khangoshvili (right) last year. He was a confidant of the Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov (left) who was killed by Russian forces in 2005
The case prompted Germany in December to expel two Russian diplomats, citing a lack of cooperation with the investigation of the Aug. 23 killing.
Khangoshvili had previously survived multiple assassination attempts and continued to receive threats after fleeing to Germany in 2016.
Prosecutors said that, at some point before mid-July last year, ‘state agencies of the central government of the Russian Federation’ tasked Vadim K. with ‘liquidating’ the victim.
The suspect ‘accepted the state killing assignment,’ prosecutors said in a statement.
‘He either hoped for a financial reward or he shared the motives of those who tasked him to kill a political opponent and take revenge for his participation in earlier conflicts with Russia.’
He was shot through the head in a Berlin park last August by a man on a bicycle who was later seen throwing a wig into the nearby River Spree
Proseutors say that the killer approached Tornike K. from behind on a bike in the small Kleiner Tiergarten park and shot him three times.
The suspect was arrested near the scene shortly afterwards and has been in custody ever since.
Russia’s ambassador was called in to the foreign ministry in Berlin again on Thursday.
Khangoshvili was a confidant of the rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, who had declared jihad on Vladimir Putin’s forces in 1999, the BBC reported.
On Thursday, federal prosecutors filed charges of murder and a violation of weapons laws against a Russian citizen they identified as Vadim K., alias Vadim S (pictured: a police diver searching for evidence in the river Spree. They found a silenced Glock 26, a bicycle and a wig)
Maskhadov was killed in an FSB raid in 2005 after waging a formidable guerrilla war on Putin’s troops.
Khangoshvili was on a German anti-terror watch list at one time, according to Spiegel, but later removed for a lack of evidence.
Sources said he was not considered an Islamist threat.
‘He was a religious man who went to the mosque,’ an intelligence source who worked with Khangoshvili in the Caucasus told the magazine, ‘But he was not radical.’
The murder of Khangoshvili…