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26 Dec, 2008 15:21

Politkovskaya trial: prosecution case unravelling?

The defence for the three men charged with the murder of prominent Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya claims the DNA of their clients does not match the specimens found at the crime scene.

Defence lawyer Murad Musaev told a court hearing on Friday that, according to experts, neither the strand of hair nor the particles of sweat left on the gun belong to any of the defendants. He added that the same is true for the saliva on a cigarette butt found at the scene.

Likewise, the lawyer argued that animal hair lifted from the gun do not match that found in the car belonging to the main suspect, who remains at large.

Musaev said that 34-year-old Rustam Makhmudov, who police suspect of having actually pulled the trigger, may also have not been involved in the crime.

Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in her apartment block on October 7, 2006.

She was widely known for her sharp criticism of the Kremlin and human rights abuses in war-torn Chechnya.