Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for June 25th, 2009

Russia orders Politkovskaya suspects’ retrial

Posted by Info on 25/06/2009

Russia’s supreme court on Thursday  25 June overturned a not-guilty verdict for three men charged in connection with the 2006 slaying of Anna Politkovskaya and ordered a new trial.

The supreme court upheld the prosecutor’s complaint that there had been “serious violations” during a trial in a Moscow district court in February where a jury returned the not-guilty verdict, provoking a storm of protest from the slain journalist’s family and former colleagues.

Ms Politkovskaya was shot dead in the entrance to her Moscow apartment building in October 2006. She was best known for work exposing atrocities committed against civilians in Chechnya where Russia has waged two wars against separatist rebels and for her fierce criticism of the FSB, the successor to the KGB.

Neither the murderer, nor the person who ordered the contract-style killing, have been found.

Karinna Moskalenko, who represented Ms Politkovskaya’s family in the trial, said the murder investigation had been inadequate and the victim’s rights had been violated.

“We need answers to difficult, but at the same time simple questions. “Who ordered the killing, who financed the killing and who carried it out?” she said.

The trial over the murder of Ms Politkovskaya, the highest profile political murder case in Russia over the past decade has been seen as a test of a commitment by Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, to eradicate what he calls “legal nihilism” in Russia where courts and judges often come under pressure.

Russian courts and judges often come under pressure and juries, introduced in 2002 as part of a plan to reform the judiciary along European lines, frequently acquit defendants citing inconclusive evidence.

Sergei Khajikurbanov, a former policeman, was accused by the prosecutor of providing technical help in the murder.

Ibrahim and Dzhebrayl Makhmudov, two brothers from Chechnya were accused of tailing Ms Politkovskaya before she was killed.

Their brother, Rustam, accused by prosecutors of pulling the trigger, is believed to be in hiding outside Russia.

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