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5 Aug, 2009 10:49

Suspects in Politkovskaya case on trial again

New proceedings in the trial of the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya have begun, but at a preliminary hearing both the defense and the prosecution agreed the case should be sent back for further investigation.

Therefore, the retrial of four men accused of being involved in the murder of the investigative journalist may not go ahead.

The court has been adjourned until Friday, August 7, when it is expected to announce the decision concerning further investigation.

Politkovskaya wrote nearly 500 articles and could have potentially made an enemy with each one she published, which makes the case a hard one to solve.

As such, during the course of the official investigation, dozens of theories led police up a multitude of avenues, but to an equal amount of dead ends.

New lines of inquiry have been taken up, but none have led to the capture of the killer or identifying those who ordered the murder.

While Politkovskaya’s former colleagues continue their own search for evidence, they hope these latest proceedings will give the investigation a much needed boost, and lead to justice finally being served.

“We are far more interested in the so-called main case – where they are searching for the killer and the contractor. Ideally, we would like to see those people on the dock so that the jury could get the full picture, rather than its parts and fragments. Of course, the current suspects are linked to this murder, but they are not the main culprits,” believes Sergey Sokolov, deputy editor of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta which Politkovskaya worked for.

Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in the entrance of her apartment building in October 2006. The following August four people were charged in connection with the killing, but they were acquitted in February of this year when the jury agreed with the defense’s claims of insufficient evidence.

The man alleged to have pulled the trigger has never been caught. It is believed that he has fled the country.

While the Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the prosecutor general’s office to overturn the acquittal verdict, the defense team expects little will come of it.

“ Many might think that this kind of development will lead to a new, more thorough investigation. But I don’t think so. They might unite the case with some other case to make things more complicated, or even adjourn it until things calm down,” said defense lawyer Murad Musayev.

The lawyer representing Politkovskaya’s family said it was not them who lodged the appeal, as they had expected the acquittal in light of the lack of evidence.