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Retired policeman arrested over Politkovskaya murder

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-08-24

A retired police officer was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of organising the assassination of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya (pictured), a staunch critic of Russia's involvement in Chechnya, gunned down outside her Moscow home in 2006.

AP - Russian investigators on Tuesday arrested a retired police officer on suspicion of organizing the 2006 killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building.

But this arrest, like the arrest of the suspected triggerman in May, still does not address the issue of who might have ordered the killing of Politkovskaya, a sharp critic of the Kremlin and its chosen strongman in Chechnya.
 
Tuesday’s arrest of retired Lt. Col. Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov was first reported by editors at Politkovskaya’s newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, and later confirmed by investigators.
 
Pavlyuchenkov was paid “by a person whose identity is still unknown” to organize the killing, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in remarks carried by all three Russian news agencies.
 
The retired officer formed a group to carry out the crime and provided the murder weapon, Markin said.
 
The brutal attack drew worldwide attention to violence against journalists in Russia, rated one of the most dangerous countries in the world for reporters. Suspicions of government involvement in the killing have been widespread.
 
The suspected gunman, Rustam Makhmudov, was arrested in his native Chechnya in May. His two brothers were accused of playing minor roles in the killing, as lookout and getaway driver.
 
Another retired Moscow police officer, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, was initially accused of supplying the murder weapon, but a court acquitted him and the two Makhmudov brothers in 2009. The Supreme Court overruled the acquittal and sent the case back to prosecutors.
 
Politkovskaya, who was 48 when she died, won international acclaim for her reports on violence, police oppression and corruption in Chechnya and other parts of the Russian Caucasus gripped by an Islamic insurgency.
 
Vladimir Putin, who was Russia’s president at the time, remained silent for three days after Politkovskaya’s killing and then said that her influence on Russian political life was “extremely insignificant.”
 
The inconclusive investigation and the botched trial added to suspicions of government involvement in the killing.

 

Date created : 2011-08-24

  • RUSSIA

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