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8 Oct, 2010 06:15

Pistol that killed Politkovskaya traced to shady workshop

Police have discovered the place where the pistol used in the killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya was likely made. They plan to question the alleged accomplice in the case, who is now doing time for another crime.

The weapon involved in the high-profile murder in 2006 was a gas pistol, which was modified to be able to fire live rounds. This week police found a shady workshop, where the weapon had been tinkered with, reports Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper.

The same tool had been used to make a silencer was used in the assassination of a notorious crime lord, also in 2006. Earlier, in May, police linked the two cases, saying the same gang was involved in both.

Due to new facts that have been uncovered, an alleged accomplice in the case, Sergey Khadzhikurbanov, has been charged with masterminding Anna Politkovskaya’s murder.

”I can confirm the fact of pressing charges, but cannot reveal any other information,” Khadzhikurbanov’s attorney Aleksey Mikhalchik told journalists.

Sergey Khadzhikurbanov had previously been accused of involvement with Anna Politkovskaya’s murder. Following the crime, he and two other people, brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov were charged, but later acquitted by a military court. However, in 2009, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling and resumed the investigation.

In February 2010, Khadzhikurbanov was accused of extortion, a crime unrelated to Politkovskaya’s case, and sentenced to eight years in prison.

By now, prosecutors have summoned him to Moscow from a prison in the Republic of Mordovia in central Russia, where he is serving his term. Khadzhikurbanov will be questioned over the new evidence.

Anna Politkovskaya was killed on October 7, 2006 near her home. Police pointed at several people as the culprits. However the suspected killer is still on the run.

The Investigative Committee announced on Wednesday, that the end of the second investigation has been postponed till February 2011. Prosecutors have identified several persons linked with the case, and some of them are not in Russia, said the committee’s spokesman Vladimir Markin.