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Russia2 July 2008

Prosecutor says Politkovskaya killer is in western Europe

The head of the investigations committee of the prosecutor-general’s office yesterday said the suspected killer of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya is believed to be in western Europe and that “official requests for judicial cooperation have been sent to several countries.”

“Revealing where Politkovskaya’s killer is probably living could jeopardise the investigation and enable him to escape capture,” Reporters Without Borders said. “There have been leaks of this kind throughout the investigation.”

Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitri Muratov told Echo of Moscow radio that his newspaper is going to request a judicial investigation into the leaks. “I find it hard to understand why the murderer’s place of residence has been revealed,” he said. “Each leak gives the murderer another chance to hide.”

18.06 - Prosecutors announce completion of Politkovskaya murder investigation

The investigations committee of the public prosecutor’s office announced today that it has concluded the investigation into the 2006 murder of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya and has charged three men with her killing. It also said charges have been dropped against former Chechen local government official Shamil Burayev, who had been arrested on suspicion of being one of the masterminds.

“We regret the premature conclusion of the investigation,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It would be outrageous if the investigators did not go any further, as they still have not identified who gave the orders for the murder. We call for assurances that the investigation will resume after these three initial suspects have been tried.”

The three men charged with participating in the murder are Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, Dzhabrail Makhmudov and Ibrahim Makhmudov. A former lieutenant-colonel in the Federal Security Service (FSB), Pavel Ryaguzov, has been charged with abuse of authority and extortion in connection with the case.

Politkovskaya family lawyer Anna Stavitskaya said the authorities had been in a rush to close the case. “There are no grounds for concluding the investigation as the persons really involved have not been found,” she said. “I do no understand why the case is being brought to trial already.”

Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitri Muratov said that he did not think the investigation had been finished and that he was still waiting for the mastermind to be identified.

The Politkovskaya family and the accused will be able to have access to the case file from tomorrow.

  In this country
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
1 May - Russia
Newspaper editor in coma after latest case of violence against journalists
10 April - Russia
Prosecutors say Novaya Gazeta journalist’s mysterious death was not murder
1er April - Russia
Local newspaper reporter dies two days after beating, human rights activist attacked outside Moscow home
16 March - Russia
Official issued Politkovskaya killer with fake passport

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