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1 Jul, 2008 19:35

Politkovskaya suspect traced to western Europe

The search for one of the suspected killers of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya has led investigators to Belgium.

Russia has asked Brussels to provide assistance in finding Rustam Makhmudov, who is thought to have fired the gun that killed the journalist.

Investigators have made similar requests to other European countries.

Aleksander Bastrykin from the Prosecutor General's office said: “According to our information, the suspected  killer is hiding in Western Europe, we even know which country.”

Makhmudov has been accused of a number of other crimes, including kidnapping and in 2001 he was put on the Interpol list.

Anna Politkovskaya, who was one of Novaya Gazeta’s best-known journalists, was shot dead outside her apartment in 2006 in Moscow.

Since the investigation began, ten suspects have been detained. Among them, Federal security service officer Pavel Ryaguzov, who has also been accused of abuse of power and extortion. He reportedly could have given the killers Politkovskaya’s address.

In June 2008, prosecutors announced that the investigation into the murder had been closed.

Three people have been charged with the murder of the journalist – Sergey Khadzhikurbatov, Dzhabrail Makhmudov and Ibragim Makhmudov.

The case of the man suspected of carrying out the murder, Rustam Makhmudov, continues separately.

Journalists from Novaya Gazeta believe the release of the whereabouts of the main suspect may in fact complicate the investigation.