Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Russia: Investigation of Anna Politkovskaya murder case finished


The Investigative Committee of Russia has completed the investigation of the murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya. According to the Rossiyskaya Gazeta, five people have been brought into the case as defendants. They are three Makhmudov brothers, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov and the alleged organizer of the crime, Lom-Ali Gaitukayev. They are accused of murder and arms trafficking.

There has been enough evidence collected to draw up an indictment, Vladimir Markin, an official spokesman for the Investigative Committee said. This is the reason why the committee decided to announce the completion of preliminary investigation.

"The persons involved in the investigation will start to examine the materials of the case during the next few days. The familiarization period for them is unlimited, but if the prosecutor decides that one of the defendants deliberately delays the familiarization, he may apply to the court to limit the terms," the source at the Committee told the Izvestia.

Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, the former head of one of the secret departments of the Moscow Police Department acts as another defendant and key witness in the case. According to investigators, in the summer of 2006, kingpin Lom-Ali Gaitukayev met Pavlyuchenkov and offered him an order for the assassination of Politkovskaya. He allegedly gave him 150,000 dollars as an advance payment. Pavlyuchenkov started spying on the journalist and provided a weapon to the assassin. According to investigators, Pavlyuchenkov withdrew from the case soon afterwards, and was replaced by former operative of the Moscow Department for Organized Crime Control, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov.

The investigation revealed that a native of Chechnya, Rustam Makhmudov, acted as an agent killer of Politkovskaya. Two of his brothers - Jabrail and Ibrahim - are targeted in the investigation as his accomplices.

Pavlyuchenkov also retold his conversation with Gaitukayev to investigators, in which he pointed to oligarch Boris Berezovsky and Chechen terrorist envoy Akhmed Zakayev as the men who ordered the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya.

According to Pavlyuchenkov, Gaitukayev allegedly instructed him to keep tabs on chief editor of Forbes Russia, Paul Khlebnikov, who was shot dead in Moscow in July 2004.

It is expected that the prosecutor's office will consider the case within the next week, and the indictment will then be taken to court.