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Russia6 October 2008

Alleged killer and the instigators of murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya remain at large two years on

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Reporters Without Borders today called on the international community to launch a new call for justice to be done on the eve of the second anniversary of the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, of the bi-weekly Novaya Gazeta and a specialist in the Caucasus region.

The campaigning journalist was gunned down at her apartment building in Moscow on 7 October 2006.

(JPEG) The man heading the investigation, Petros Garibian confirmed in a special report today in her newspaper, which has carried out its own inquiry, that a trial will open in the next few weeks before a military court, since one of the accused, Pavel Riaguzov, is an officer in the Russian secret services (FSB).

Echoing fears voiced by the journalist’s son, Ilya Politkovskiy, at a conference held by Reporters Without Borders in Paris on 3 October 2008, Garibian has said there is a risk that the trial will be held behind closed doors because of the sensitivity of documents to be produced. He said it would be a trial before a jury.

(JPEG) The head of the investigation also said that only three people would be on trial and that neither the instigator(s) nor the alleged gunman - Rustam Makhmudov, who reportedly worked as an informer for Pavel Riaguzov - will be in the dock.

The three suspects are Djabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov and Sergei Khadjikurbanov. The first two are considered to be accomplices and the last, a former police officer specialising in the fight against organised crime, to be one of those who arranged the killing.

“This case calls for the utmost vigilance, considering that only part of the case will go before the military court and only a tiny number of those implicated in the killings will be in the dock,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“This case is not closed. The investigation should continue until the arrest of the killer and the brains behind this killing which has stunned public opinion”, it said.

Novaya Gazeta has drawn up a long list of questions that have so far been unanswered in this case : Who ordered surveillance of the journalist ? Who was behind leaks on the progress of the investigation, from August 2007 onwards ? Who gave the alleged gunman, sought in Russia since 1998 for kidnapping, a false passport with which he was apparently able to flee abroad where he is still being looked for ?

(JPEG) The newspaper has called for a rally in memory of its special correspondant near Pushkin Square from 1.30 pm. A ceremony planned in St Petersburg has not been authorised by the authorities. At least two books have appeared in France paying tribute to her : “What have I done ?” by Anna Politkovskaya published by Buchet-Chastel, and “Russia. The other side of power” by Marie Mendras (Odile Jacob) dedicated to Politkovskaya.

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