German federal prosecutors have demanded life in prison without parole for a Russian man accused of murdering a former Chechen commander in Berlin more than two years ago -- allegedly on the orders of Moscow.
The request was made to a Berlin court on December 7 after 14 months of trial of the man identified by prosecutors as Vadim Krasikov, who is accused of shooting dead Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian citizen of Chechen ethnicity, in Kleiner Tiergarten Park in August 2019.
The suspect, who was arrested minutes after the killing, has claimed his innocence. He had traveled to Germany on a Russian passport issued in the name of Vadim Sokolov.
Federal prosecutors identified him as a "commander of a special unit of the Russian secret services FSB."
Summing up the case, prosecutor Lars Malkies told the court that the suspect “liquidated a political opponent as an act of retaliation."
His colleague, Nikolaus Forschner, said the accused had carried out a "state order to kill."
In an earlier hearing, the suspect told the court through his lawyer that he should be identified only as Vadim Sokolov, who is "Russian, single, and a construction engineer."
He said he knew “no one” named Krasikov.
Khangoshvili, 40, had fought Russian troops in Chechnya.
He had previously survived several assassination attempts and continued to receive threats after fleeing in 2016 to Germany, where he had been granted asylum.