BERLIN (AP) — A Russian man charged with the brazen daylight murder in Berlin last year of a Georgian, which prosecutors say was ordered by the Russian state, will go on trial in the German capital next month.
The Berlin district court said Wednesday the trial will open Oct. 7. It has scheduled 25 court dates, the last of them on Jan. 27., 2021
The case prompted Germany last December to expel two Russian diplomats, citing a lack of cooperation with the investigation of the Aug. 23, 2019 killing.
Federal prosecutors in June filed charges of murder and a violation of weapons laws against a Russian citizen they identified as Vadim K., alias Vadim S. The 55-year-old’s last name was withheld in line with German privacy laws but has been widely reported as Vadim Krasikov, using the alias Vadim Sokolov.
The victim, Tornike K., who also has widely been identified in reports as Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, was a Georgian citizen of Chechen ethnicity who fought against Russian troops in Chechnya. He had previously survived multiple assassination attempts and continued to receive threats after fleeing to Germany in 2016.
Prosecutors say the killer approached Tornike K. from behind on a bike in the small Kleiner Tiergarten park and shot him in the torso with a Glock handgun equipped with a silencer. The victim fell, and the assailant then fatally shot him twice in the head. The suspect was arrested near the scene shortly afterward.
The murder case and alleged Russian involvement in the 2015 hacking of the German parliament have weighed on relations between the two countries for months. In recent weeks, the suspected poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has added to tensions.
Navalny fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on Aug 20. He was later transferred to Berlin’s Charité hospital, where doctors found indications that he had been poisoned.