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28 Mar, 2008 16:10

Politkovskaya killer identified

Prosecutors say they’ve identified the killer of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Police are now searching for him. Politkovskaya was shot dead in the stairwell of her Moscow apartment building on October 7, 2006.

Investigators are now working on locating and arresting the killer, according to the official representative of the investigative committee of the Prosecutor General’s Office

The representative noted that the suspect’s name was not a new discovery for the investigative committee. They’ve known it since last year, now they’ve managed to track him down.

His name might be released upon his arrest. However, it might be decided to withold the information.

The murder was widely condemned both in Russia and abroad.

The country’s President and Prosecutor General said the killing could have been organised to discredit the country.

Critics in the west, however, said Politkovskaya was silenced for her harsh criticism of the Kremlin.

She worked for many Russian newspapers and her last employer was Russia’s opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta. The journalist was also famous for her investigation of human rights violations in the republic of Chechnya. Before her death she was working on a report accusing the then Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov of such abuses.

Vladimir Pozner, a famous Russian journalist and TV host, says Politkovskaya “was one of the few who could not be bought for money or anything else”.

“For those who know, she was an outstanding example of what a journalist is supposed to be: she was honest, courageous, thoughtful and responsible,” he said.

The investigation into Politkovskaya’s murder has taken a year and a half so far. Last year police released a list of nine suspects, with former FSB officer Pavel Ryaguzov among them. He is suspected of passing on information on Politkovskaya home address to the killer. Ryaguzon was arrested in August 2007 and is being held in jail while the investigation continues.

After the journalist’s murder her colleagues began an independent investigation. Roman Shleinov from Novaya Gazeta says according to their information the investigators are doing everything to find the killer. Even though his name is known, the problem is to arrest him.

In September 2007 she was posthumously given the Press Freedom Award. She was picked by the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy for promoting press freedom and independent media in Russia.