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Russian lawmaker arrested

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MOSCOW — A Russian lawmaker was arrested Wednesday in the middle of a parliament session in connection with two murders committed eight years ago, an official and news reports said.

Rauf Arashukov, a 32-year-old senator representing the Karachayevo-Cherkessia region of Russia’s Northern Caucasus, is suspected of involvement in the 2010 murders of two people and of pressuring a witness to one of the killings, according to investigators.

He allegedly acted as part of an organized group that included his father, a statement by the Russian Investigative Committee said.

A court in Moscow later denied bail to Arashukov.

Arashukov was on the Senate floor when police officers entered and read out a warrant, according to Senate Speaker Valentina Matviyenko.

“He tried to get up and leave the session. I told him to sit down,” she told state television.

She said he will retain his senator post despite the probe until a court finds him guilty.

Parliamentary journalists did not witness the arrest as the cameras were turned off without explanation, said a correspondent for Rossiya 24 state TV.

A court in Moscow later denied bail to Arashukov, deciding to keep him behind bars for two months while the probe continues.

Investigators named the murder victims as Aslan Zhukov, an activist with an organization representing the Circassian ethnic minority, and Fral Shebzukhov, an advisor to the governor of Arashukov’s Karachayevo-Cherkessia region. Both were shot dead in 2010, on separate occasions.

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