Sunday, August 09, 2009


Anna Politkovskaya (file image)
Anna Politkovskaya was an outspoken critic of the Kremlin

A Moscow court has rejected a request by the family of murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya for the current retrial of three suspects to be halted.

Family lawyers had asked for the case to be combined with another inquiry into who masterminded the killing.

The retrial became necessary after the Supreme Court overturned the acquittals of the three men accused of her murder.

Ms Politkovskaya - a critic of the Kremlin - was killed in Moscow almost three years ago.

Neither her killer, nor whoever ordered the shooting, has been brought to justice.

The retrial involves three men accused of being accomplices to her murder - two Chechen brothers alleged to have been drivers at the scene and a third man, a former Moscow policeman, accused of giving logistical help.

But the Politkovskaya family argues that a retrial is pointless as it involves the same evidence and suspects, and so will not get to the bottom of who was behind the killing.

Instead, the family wants investigators to take a fresh look.

The three suspects on trial were acquitted at an earlier hearing in February, but the Supreme Court quashed that verdict, citing procedural problems.

Anna Politkovskaya won international renown for her dogged probing of abuses against civilians by Russian-backed security forces in Chechnya.

But her investigative reports, highly critical of the then-President Vladimir Putin and the Chechen leadership angered many in authority.

The court proceedings come weeks after the fatal shooting of the human rights activist Natalia Estemirova, who also investigated human rights abuses in Chechnya and had worked closely with Anna Politkovskaya.




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