Russian authorities arrested a lawmaker on Wednesday in the midst of a parliamentary session in connection with two contract murders.
The lawmaker, Rauf Arashukov, tried to get away when he became aware that he was about to be arrested, but ultimately surrendered to police, according to The Guardian.
Arashukov was detained in the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia.
He was charged with murder, tampering with witnesses and being involved in organized crime, the newspaper said.
The speaker of the Federal Assembly banned the press from the parliamentary session, paving the way for a vote to strip Arashukov of his parliamentary immunity.
He pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges.
Russian lawmaker Rauf Arashukov smiles during hearings in a court in Moscow Wednesday. The Investigative Committee said Arashukov, who represents the Karachay-Cherkessiya region in the North Caucasus, was detained after the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, voted to strip him of immunity from prosecution. Investigators suspect he had a role in orchestrating the killing of two high-profile figures in 2010. (AP Photo/Alexei Morozov)
The murders to which Arashukov has been linked were of a presidential aide and a youth politician from Karachay-Cherkessia, the region he represents.
A lawyer representing the victims said that Arashukov could be linked to four murders.
“He really tried [to run],” the Federation Council speaker, Valentina Matviyenko, told reporters, according to The Guardian. “He tried to get upstairs and out of the session. I told him to sit in his place, because according to current rules, he has the right to speak and give an explanation.”
“He declined the opportunity,” she said. “That is also his right.”