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7 Sep, 2009 09:19

Investigation into politician’s murder resumed

A criminal court in St. Petersburg has re-launched proceedings in the case of murdered Russian politician Galina Starovoytova. The investigation says there are new and important leads.

Starovoytova became famous for her support of democracy and human rights and trying to prevent the first conflict in Chechnya.

She was shot in her house in St. Petersburg on November 20, 1998, in what is widely believed to be a political assassination.

In 2005, the court found two men guilty of her murder – Yury Kolchin and Vitaly Akishin. They were sentenced to more than 20 years in jail. The former was judged the organizer of the murder, and the latter the actual killer.

A year later two more people – Vyacheslav Lelyavin and Pavel Stekhnovsky – stood trial for aiding and abetting the crime.

However, those who had ordered the attack have never been found. Last year, the investigation had been suspended till new details emerged about the true culprit behind the murder.

In June of this year, police arrested and questioned former State Duma deputy Mikhail Glushchenko, suspected of contracting three people and extortion.

Following the arrest, the relatives of Galina Starovoytova addressed Russia’s leadership in an open letter, asking the authorities to resume the investigation into the case. They said several witnesses had mentioned Glushchenko’s name at the hearings of the Starovoytova case.

Ekho Moskvy radio station reports that, on August 18, investigators questioned former deputy Mikhail Glushchenko as a witness in the politician’s murder case.