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17 Feb, 2009 05:14

Prosecution offers new version of Politkovskaya murder

According to Andrey Trepykhalin, the lawyer of one of the suspects, at the court’s session on February 16 the prosecutor has announced another version of how the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya was planned.

According to Andrey Trepykhalin, Pavel Ryaguzov's lawyer, the prosecution suspects Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, the uncle of those charged with the murder, of having taken the order for the assassination.

Until today Gaitukayev was only a witness in Politkovskaya case. According to the prosecution Lom-Ali Gaitukayev received the contract in June-July of 2006. Shortly after he was jailed for other crimes and thus passed the order to former police officer Sergey Khadzhikurbanov, who later gave it to the Makhmudov brothers, currently charged with the murder.

According to Trepykhalin, the prosecutor has not explained how exactly the order for the murder was passed. Gaitukayev and Khadzhikurbanov were at the time in correctional facilities in different cities of Russia.

Earlier Gaitukayev had learnt from the inspectors that $US 2 million was paid for the murder of the journalist. However, at the last court hearing the prosecutor never mentioned those who might have bankrolled the assassination.

Politkovskaya was widely known for her sharp criticism of the Kremlin and human rights abuses in Chechnya during the wars. She actively criticised a number of well-known people in her articles and these names have appeared in the case. According to the investigation, the motive for murder may have been due to the journalist’s publications.

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

According to the lawyer for the Makhmudov brothers Saidakhmet Arsamerzaev, people who could have ordered the murder appear in the case documents, but have not yet been questioned.

For the present moment there are four suspects in the case. They are: Sergey Khadzhikurbanov, brothers Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov, and the employee of the FSB Pavel Ryaguzov.

The investigation currently indicts the third brother Rustam Mahmudov as the murderer. He has been placed on the wanted list.