Assassination of Anna Politkovskaya - The Trial

The Trial

On 2 October 2008, the case against Khadzhikurbanov and Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov was sent to court by the prosecutors.

On 25 November 2008, it was reported that the murder was ordered by a Russian politician. The defence lawyer representing the four men charged over Politkovskaya's murder told reporters that the unnamed politician, based in Russia, was mentioned in the case files.

The deputy Editor-in-chief editor of Novaya Gazeta Sergei Sokolov publicly asserted in court that the suspected hitman Rustam Makhmudov had been wanted for other crimes by the police since 1998, but had been protected by the Russian domestic secret service (FSB) and, personally, by FSB Colonel Pavel Ryaguzov who provided him with a forged passport. Ryaguzov was another suspect in the case. An attorney for Ryaguzov objected to this disclosure on the grounds that the alleged connections of Makmudov with FSB represent a "state secret".

On 19 February 2009 the trial ended with the unanimous jury acquittal of Dzhabrail Makhmudov, Ibragim Makhmudov, and Sergei Khadzhikurbanov. The prosecutor Vera Pashkovskaya stated that the verdict would be appealed.

Commenting on the end of the trial against a few suspects in Moscow yesterday, Andrew McIntosh, Chairman of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s Sub-Committee on the Media and Rapporteur on media freedom, expressed his deep frustration at the lack of progress in investigating the murder of Anna Politkovskaya on 7 October 2006 and the inability of the Russian authorities to find her killers: "Two years ago, in its Resolution 1535 (2007), the Assembly called on the Russian Parliament to closely monitor the progress in the criminal investigations regarding the murder of Anna Politkovskaya and hold the authorities accountable for any failures to investigate or prosecute. The closure of the trial yesterday can only be regarded as a blatant failure. I call on the Russian authorities and Parliament to relaunch a proper investigation and shed light on this murder, which undermines not only freedom of expression in Russia, but also its democratic foundation based on the rule of law. There are no excuses for these flawed investigations into murders of politically critical journalists writing against corruption and crime within government, such as the murders of Georgy Gongadze in Ukraine in 2000 and Paul Klebnikov in Moscow in 2004."

The BBC comment on the trial's failure said: "The alleged killer was somehow tipped off and was able to flee the country. And it has never emerged why Anna Politkovskaya had been under surveillance by the FSB for at least two months before her murder. Very quickly the investigation ground to a halt. As soon as it became clear that the FSB was involved, a veil of secrecy descended."

Read more about this topic:  Assassination Of Anna Politkovskaya

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