Russia17 April 2008
Politkovskaya’s killer said to be hiding in western Siberia
The Russian government news agency Ria-Novosti reported yesterday that journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s suspected killer, Rustam Makhmudov, is believe to be in hiding in or near Novosibirsk, in western Siberia. The local police have circulated his photo and are actively looking for him, the report said.
Reporters Without Borders deplores the series of press reports and announcements that are being made with the aim of giving the impression of significant progress in the investigation.
When press reports at the end of last month identified Makhmudov as the person suspected of carrying out the Politkovskaya shooting, a Reporters Without Borders release pointed out that those who masterminded her murder have still not been identified.
28.03 - Politkovskaya’s killer “found” but masterminds still undisclosed
Reporters Without Borders renewed its call for the real organisers of the October 2006 murder of campaigning journalist Anna Politkovskaya to be arrested and tried after a legal spokesman said today her killer had been identified and was being sought.
“The big question has not been answered,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “The authorities have still not shown their determination or ability to find and punish those who gave the orders for this crime. We are waiting for them to act.”
The prosecutor-general’s spokesman, Vyacheslav Smirnov, who did not name the killer, also said nine people were under investigation in the case, including former secret policeman Pavel Ryaguzov. However, Ryaguzov’s lawyer denied he was being prosecuted for involvement in the murder. The ex-policeman has been accused of giving the Novaya Gazeta journalist’s address to Chechen former politician Shamil Burayev.
The complex investigation, during which about 60 witnesses have reportedly been interviewed, has been extended until 7 September this year. The preventive detention of Burayev and two other suspects, Tamerlan Makhmudov and Mogamed Dimelkhanov, has been prolonged until 7 April.
Politkosvakaya was murdered on 7 October 2006 in the hallway of her Moscow apartment building. The head of the investigation, Alexander Bastrykin, told the Izvestia newspapers on 2 October last year that Burayev was the main organiser of the killing. Prosecutor-general Yuri Chaika had announced on 27 August the arrest of 10 suspects. His office said they suspected the murder was the work of a Chechen gang helped by police accomplices.