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Accused acquitted in Politkovskaya trial

Posted on 05/30/2019 | in 深圳桑拿网 | by

A Moscow jury on acquitted all the accused in the trial over the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya after three months of hearings that failed to shed light on the crime.

深圳桑拿网

None of the four accused had been charged with pulling the trigger or being the mastermind of the 2006 killing of the investigative reporter who was highly critical of Russia\’s strongman and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

“They have neither found the person who ordered the killing, the organisers nor the people who committed the crime,” the Politkovskaya family\’s lawyer, Karinna Moskalenko, complained after the verdicts were announced.

State prosecutor Yulia Safina said the prosecution planned to go to the court of appeal to “complain about the infringements that took place in the course of the court\’s examination of the case.”

Accused rejoice

Relatives of the accused cried of “Bravo, well done!” and “Thank you!” as the verdicts were read out. By contrast, Politkovskaya\’s son and daughter listened to the verdicts in silence.

The defendants hugged each other inside the courtroom cage where they had followed proceedings before being released immediately, an AFP correspondent said.

“Justice has been done,” said defence lawyer Murad Mussayev. “The jury showed their principles and there has been an honest verdict.”

The acquitted were Chechen brothers, Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, who had been accused of driving the killer to the scene of the murder of the Kremlin critic.

A third defendant acquitted was Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a former police investigator, who had been charged with providing logistical assistance for the murder.

Also acquitted was Pavel Ryaguzov, a former agent of the FSB security service who was not directly accused of being part of the murder but of extortion in another aspect of the case.

‘Incomplete enquiry’

International press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders, RSF) said the trial had been marked by “incoherence and opacity” from the outset.

“This decision is the consequence of an incomplete enquiry that was handed over prematurely to the courts. It is impossible to know who ordered this crime and why. Everything is still to do,” it said in a statement.

Her family criticised the verdicts, saying they believed that all four men were implicated in the crime.

“I think that all four of them are linked to the murder of my mother in one way or another,” her son Ilya Politkovsky told a news conference alongside his sister Vera.

“Their degree of culpability needed to be proved in court. The prosecution was not able to do this.”

Politkovskaya was shot dead in the lift of her Moscow apartment building on October 7, 2006 in an apparent contract killing after returning from a shopping trip to a Moscow store.

She had been critical of the actions of then-president Putin in war-torn Chechnya, making numerous trips to the ravaged republic to uncover human rights abuses.

The journalist had written dozens of articles and a book called “Putin\’s Russia” accusing the Russian strongman of using the Chechen conflict to strangle democracy in the country.

During the hearings the defence team pointed out that the suspects\’ DNA had not been found on the weapon and that phone calls made by the accused at the time did not prove their presence at the murder scene.

Second journalist attacked

Politkovksaya\’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper was one of the few media outlets to voice criticism of the Kremlin. Her death was not the only time the publication has seen one of its journalists attacked.

Last month a young journalist working as an intern on the paper, Anastasia Baburova, was gunned down in central Moscow as she emerged from a news conference with a prominent rights lawyer.

“I want to say that nothing has been closed (with the verdict) and the main investigation still lies ahead,” the newspaper\’s chief editor Dmitry Muratov said, according to the Interfax news agency.

Putin had described Politkovskaya\’s murder as an “unacceptable crime that cannot go unpunished” but also commented that her “ability to influence political life in Russia was extremely insignificant.”

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