UPDATES WITH STATEMENT OF GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, CHANGES DECK, EDITS THROUGHOUT
BERLIN (AA) - A German court on Wednesday sentenced a Russian citizen to life in prison over a “state-contracted killing” of a Chechen asylum seeker in 2019.
The Berlin Higher Court ruled that 56-year-old Vadim Nikolaevich Krasikov carried out the murder in Berlin upon the orders he received from the “state bodies of the Russian central government.”
The victim, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, was a Georgian citizen of Chechen ethnicity who fought against Russian troops in Chechnya in the early 2000s.
Sergej Netschajew, Russia’s ambassador to Germany, denied the allegations and said the court’s ruling was “politically motivated.”
But Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said that they decided today to declare two diplomats of the Russian Embassy in Berlin “persona non grata” following the court verdict.
“This state-contracted murder - as determined by the court today - represents a serious violation of German law and of Germany's sovereignty,” she said in a statement.
The suspected hitman was arrested near Berlin's Tiergarten park soon after the murder, as witnesses saw him and alerted the police.
He travelled to Germany a day before the murder with fake identity documents, according to prosecutors.