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Russia charges 3 men in Politkovskaya killing

Russian prosecutors have charged three men with a role in killing crusading journalist Anna Politkovskaya, but her newspaper’s editor said he did not believe the crime was solved.
/ Source: Reuters

Russian prosecutors on Wednesday charged three men with a role in the killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was critical of the Kremlin’s rights record in Chechnya, but her newspaper’s editor said he did not believe the crime was solved.

A gunman shot Politkovskaya in her central Moscow apartment block in October 2006, a murder that shocked the West but barely resonated in Russia outside a small band of intelligentsia who read her reports in the newspaper.

“Three figures are accused in the murder of the journalist,” the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office said in a statement.

Prosecutors named the men as Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, Dzhabrail Makhmudov and Ibragim Makhmudov.

Last month Russian prosecutors named a different man, who they say shot Politkovskaya, as Rustam Makhmudov. They said on Wednesday their investigation against him was ongoing.

Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper for which Politkovskaya wrote, said it is “absolutely impossible” to assert the investigation into her death was over.

Speaking on editorially independent Ekho Moskvy radio station, Muratov accused some officials close to the inquiry of overseeing “information leaks which allowed many people involved in the crime, including the killer, to escape.”

“A crime cannot be solved if the killer himself is at large and, quite probably, beyond the borders of our long-suffering motherland; if the one who ordered the murder has not been identified; if no criminal cases have been launched against those who allowed regular leaks of information,” he said.

A staunch Kremlin critic, Politkovskaya was well known in the West for her campaigning human rights reporting in Chechnya, where Russian forces had fought rebels in two wars since 1994.

Her books were translated into English and sold widely across the world, though not all were published in Russia. A posthumous collection of her writing, titled “For what?” was published in Russia and sold well on its release last year.

The Novaya Gazeta, part owned by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, had a low media impact within Russia’s general population.