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Court rules against FSB officer's arrest in Politkovskaya murder-1

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The Moscow District Military Court ruled Monday that the arrest of FSB Lt. Col. Pavel Ryaguzov, a suspect in the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, was illegal.
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MOSCOW, September 3 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow District Military Court ruled Monday that the arrest of FSB Lt. Col. Pavel Ryaguzov, a suspect in the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, was illegal.

The court overruled a lower military court, which sanctioned the officer's arrest, and ordered a new hearing.

Ryaguzov is currently in custody.

He was arrested August 21 on charges of abuse of office, abduction and illegal entering of premises, offenses that he allegedly committed in 2002.

Ryaguzov's lawyer said his client has not been formally charged in the murder of Politkovskaya.

Prosecutor General Yury Chaika announced last week that 10 people, "including direct organizers, accomplices and perpetrators of the crime," had been arrested in the case.

Last Thursday, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office released two suspects in Politkovskaya's murder, Alexei Berkin and Oleg Alimov.

According to Kommersant, a Russian business daily, another suspect named by Chaika, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a former police major, had a cast-iron alibi: Convicted in 2004 on abuse of office charges, he was not released from prison until December 2006, at least two months after the murder.

Chaika announced that a Chechen-born leader of a Moscow organized crime group, known to the journalist, masterminded the murder, and said former and serving security and police officers had been arrested in the investigation.

The gang leader who allegedly masterminded Politkovskaya's killing was well known to the journalist, and the two had met, Chaika said.

He said the suspect is currently abroad, but declined to name him. "I can't give his name, as the investigation is still underway," he said.

Anna Politkovskaya, known for her criticism of the Kremlin's policy in Chechnya, was gunned down in an apparent contract killing in an elevator of her apartment building October 7, 2006 in Moscow, at age 48.

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