Russian MP arrested on senate floor for double murder

Russian MP arrested on senate floor for double murder

Investigators say Arashukov is suspected of orchestrating the killing of two high-profile figures in Karachaevo-Cherkessiya in 2010.

Russian authorities arrested a lawmaker on Wednesday in the midst of a parliamentary session in connection with two contract murders.

The senator for the North Caucasus republic of Karachay-Cherkessia was detained in a parliamentary session.

The United Russia branch in Karachai-Cherkessia said on January 30 that it suspended Arashukov's membership in the party, which dominates politics nationwide and is one of President Vladimir Putin's main levers of influence.

Rauf Arashukov denies all the charges but has no further comment, according to his lawyer, Evgeny Ustin, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. Russian news website RBC a year ago quoted investigation sources as saying that three people testified against the lawmaker, accusing him of ordering the murder of a well-known local activist. The man's sister previous year publicly came forward against Arashukov.

A former municipal lawmaker and district head in Karachai-Cherkessia, Arashukov became a member of the Federation Council in September 2016 and represented the executive branch of the regional government in the upper house.

The house speaker, Valentina Matvienko, said that Arashukov tried to walk out of the hall while the deputies were discussing a motion to strip him of immunity from prosecution.

"He tried to walk upstairs and leave the session".

It started as a normal morning in the upper house of Russia's parliament, as a rubber stamp body for the Kremlin packed with wealthy members.

The lawmaker, who became a senator in 2016, is also accused of "document fraud that allowed him to become a senator", Russian Federation media reports say.

Arashukov smiled and looked relaxed and he sat in the courtroom while masked agents of the Federal Security Service stood by. But within minutes, the country's top law-enforcement officials turned up to detain a senator on murder charges as he waited for debate to begin.

Investigators also said they had detained Arashukov's father, who was suspected of embezzling 30bn rubles (£350m) in gas supplies.

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