Moscow: Five people, including a former Chechen policeman, have been detained over the murder of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov. Also, another suspect has blown himself up in Chechen capital of Grozny after being surrounded by the police, Russian media reported.
Nemtsov, Russian opposition leader and a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was shot while walking over a bridge with his girlfriend.
Of the five detained, two have been charged, while three others have been remanded to jail pending the filing of charges, which Russian law says must be done within 10 days.
All the suspects are said to be from Chechnya or other parts of the restive North Caucasus.
Russian news reports meanwhile cited unnamed sources as saying another suspect had killed himself with a grenade after police blocked his apartment on Saturday in Grozny, the capital of the republic of Chechnya. There was no official comment from Moscow on the reports, but Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov appeared to partially confirm it Sunday.
One of the judges in the two separate hearings said suspect Zaur Dadaev had acknowledged involvement, but Dadaev did not admit guilt in the courtroom, according to state-run and independent news agencies in Russia. The other suspect who was charged, Anzor Gubashev, denied guilt, the reports said.
The three others include Gubashev's younger brother Shagid, along with Khamzad Bakhaev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov, state news agency Tass reported.
Dadaev, one of the suspects charged Sunday, had been an officer in the Chechen police troops, reports cited the head of the security council in neighboring Ingushetia as saying.
Kadyrov on Sunday said on Instagram that Dadaev had left the police troops under unclear circumstances. He described him as a "deeply religious man" offended by Nemtsov's comments after the attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. Russia's Investigative Committee had suggested Islamic extremism as a possible motive for Nemtsov's killing.
He also praised a man called Beslan Shavanov as a "brave warrior." That was the name given in the unsourced reports of the suspect who allegedly killed himself in Grozny. Kadyrov's post did not give details, but said Shavanov "perished the previous day during an attempt to detain him."
The 55-year-old Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister who became one of Putin's most outspoken detractors, was killed a few hours after he had made a radio appearance denouncing Putin for "mad, aggressive" policies in Ukraine.
Nemtsov was working on a report detailing Russian involvement in the war between pro-Russia separatist rebels and Ukrainian forces, associates said.
Many opposition supporters suspect the killing was ordered by the Kremlin in retaliation for Nemtsov's ardent criticism of President Vladimir Putin. Authorities, meanwhile, have suggested several possible motives, including a provocation aimed at tarnishing Putin's image.
With Agency Inputs