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18 Jun, 2008 06:55

Four to face trial as Politkovskaya investigation ends

Four people have been charged in connection with the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. It comes as a result of the preliminary investigation which has now been concluded.

According to the investigating committee at the Moscow prosecutor general's office, three people are to stand trial for the murder – Sergey Khadzhikurbanov, Dzhabrail Makhmudov and Ibragim Makhmudov.

Another suspect, Pavel Ryaguzov, has been charged with lesser offences, including abuse of office and extortion.

Politkovskaya, journalist for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, gained international recognition for her criticism of the Kremlin and reports of military atrocities against civilians in the troubled Caucasus republic of Chechnya.

She was gunned down in her apartment building in Moscow in October 2006. 

Russian prosecutors have dropped a probe against one of the suspects, Shamil Burayev. The former head of Chechnya's western Achkhoi-Martan district was accused of obtaining the journalist's address and passing it on to the other suspects in the murder. He was released on bail.

Burayev’s lawyer, Andrey Chuvelov, said: “The investigation was dropped in the absence of criminal action by Burayev aimed at assisting the murder of the journalist.”

Meanwhile, Dmitry Muratov, Editor-in-Chief of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper where Politkovskaya worked, says that it is too early to talk about clearing up who was behind her death. He believes the murderer is still at large and that the mastermind has not been found.