Five charged over murder of Russian journalist


RUSSIAN investigators have charged five men with the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down at her Moscow home six years ago.

Russia’s investigative committee announced yesterday that it believed Rustam Makhmudov had shot Politkovskaya dead as she went into the lift of her apartment building on October 7th, 2006.

Makhmudov’s brothers, Dzhabrail and Ibragim, face trial for acting as drivers and lookouts. The committee said Lom-Ali Gaitukayev had organised the crime, with the help of former Moscow police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov. All five face charges of murder and illegal arms dealing.

No one has been convicted of the murder of Politkovskaya, a journalist at Novaya Gazeta, who wrote fiercely critical exposés of the Kremlin’s policies in Chechnya.

Three of the five accused were acquitted by a court of involvement in Politkovskaya’s murder in 2009, but a higher court later ordered a retrial.

Ilya Politkovsky, son of the murdered journalist, said the authorities still did not know who had ordered the killing. “This is only the case of five people and they still don’t have the client,” he told the Ria Novosti agency yesterday.

Politkovskaya’s family and lawyers for the accused now have the chance to study the files of evidence against the men. Observers do not expect the trial to get under way for several months.

Johann Bihr of Reporters without Borders said the authorities had been slow to act.

“We have the impression that the investigation started only last year,” he said.