MOSCOW, July 31 (RAPSI) – The judge in the Anna Politkovskaya trial has rejected the request of the murdered investigative journalist's children that he recuse himself and discharge the jury, RAPSI legal news agency reported from the courtroom on Wednesday.
Politkovskaya, who harshly criticized the Kremlin and authorities of Russia’s North Caucasus region in her stories for the opposition-leaning Novaya Gazeta newspaper, was gunned down in the elevator of her apartment building on October 7, 2006. Her murder caused an international outcry amid widespread allegations of government involvement.
Politkovskaya’s children said last week that they would boycott the trial, because the jury was approved without their participation and the trial set for a date when the siblings could not attend.
The five suspects, who have pleaded not guilty, include former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov; three Makhmudov brothers – Rustam, Ibragim, and Dzhabrail – and their uncle Lom-Ali Gaitukayev.
A sixth suspect, former police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who earlier signed a plea bargain, gave evidence against his accomplices and was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2012.
The investigators believe that Rustam Makhmudov committed the murder with the help of his brothers, their uncle and Khadzhikurbanov.
Three of the five suspects standing trial at the Moscow City Court – Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov and Sergei Khadzhikurbanov – were tried and acquitted in a jury trial in 2009. The Supreme Court overturned the ruling and ordered a retrial. Prosecutors have failed to identify the mastermind behind the killing.