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14 Apr, 2010 15:50

High-profile murders of judge and lawyer connected?

The murder of a Moscow judge has given rise to some contradictory reports.

Speculation is growing over the murder of a prominent Moscow judge as mass media reported it might be connected to the killing of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in January 2009.

A friend of the main suspect in Markelov’s murder case claimed that according to a preliminary ballistics report, the weapon used to gun down Chuvashov was the same as the one used for the murders in January 2009, since the bullets found at both crime scenes were reportedly of the same kind.

Recently sources inside the law enforcement system have confirmed this claim.

“During the investigation of Markelov’s murder case, we found a gun. Ballistics expertise confirmed that it was the gun used for the murder of both Markelov and Baburova,” an investigative committee official was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS news agency.

Due to Chuvashov’s involvement in tracking neo-Nazi groups and trying to prosecute far-right extremists in Russia, he became a hate figure in the ultra-nationalist community. It has been widely reported that he repeatedly received threats of violence and even death threats.

However, according to those who knew the judge, Chuvashov never suspected he was at risk. He never asked for any special bodyguards or special security measures while working on the murder.

“There were claims that he'd been threatened but that's not true,” the press secretary of Moscow court, Anna Usacheva, told RT. “Eduard was investigating some very complicated criminal cases, and he understood what real threats are, in particular threats to personal safety. He never reported that he had received any threats or felt any danger.”