Prosecutors to finalize charges in Politkovskaya murder case

Retired Police Lieut. Col. Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, suspected of organizing the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, at Moscow's Basmanny court.(RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)
Russia’s Central Investigative Committee has forwarded the case of a man suspected of killing reporter Anna Politkovskaya to prosecutor in order to finalize the official charges.

After the prosecutors come up with the final formula the case will be forwarded to a court, reads the statement posted on the agency’s web-site. The suspect, Dmitriy Pavlyuchenkov, will be tried separately from other suspects in the case as he had entered a plea deal and cooperated with investigators.

The former police colonel used to be a main witness in the Politkovskaya murder case but in 2011 he was detained after being suspected of organizing the murder. In 2012 he was released from custody and put under house arrest due to poor state of health.

Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in the lobby of her apartment block in central Moscow in 2006. Colleagues and investigators believed the motive for the killing was tied up with Politkovskaya’s work and especially her uncovering of human rights abuses in Chechnya.

The investigators’ main theory was the murder was organized by Chechen resident Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, He organized a criminal gang that included Pavlyuchenkov who provided information about the victim and the murder weapon. The gang watched the victim and then proceeded with the assassination.

Investigators say Rustam Makhmudov allegedly shot the victim several times with a pistol, dropped the weapon at the crime scene and fled.

Makhmudov was detained in Chechnya in 2011 and although he refused to cooperate, it was less than three months after his arrest that Pavlyuchenkov changed from being a witness to being a suspect in the case.

The Russian press also reported an attack on Pavlyuchenkov and his wife that took place soon after Politkovskaya’s assassination, both were wounded and Pavlyuchenkov ended up in a hospital emergency room. However, investigators hold that this was linked with a different assassination attempt.

Despite the fact that all the suspected perpetrators were detained, they have not told an investigator who was the mastermind behind it. Politkovskaya’s children said in press interviews this month that in their view the person who ordered the hit would never be named and thus the investigation cannot be called a success.

People laying flowers at the apartment building where the journalist Anna Politkovskaya lived.(RIA Novosti / Sergey Savastjanov)
People laying flowers at the apartment building where the journalist Anna Politkovskaya lived.(RIA Novosti / Sergey Savastjanov)