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Court rules against returning Politkovskaya case to prosecutors

RIA Novosti

16:26 07/08/2009 MOSCOW, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow court turned down an application from the relatives of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya that the retrial of defendants in the 2006 murder be halted and the case returned to prosecutors.

In February the Moscow Military District Court acquitted Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, brothers from Chechnya, and former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov of involvement in the journalist's murder. However, in June Russia's Supreme Court overturned the acquittal and ordered a retrial.

The judge said jury selection for the retrial, which will be open to the public, will start on September 7.

Lawyers for the Politkovskaya family as well as the defense said they would appeal the court ruling. The prosecution has yet to decide on whether to appeal.

The petition from Politkovskaya's family argued that the evidence available for the retrial was the same as during the first trial and that the case had not yet been solved.

Lawyers argued the case should be combined with that of the person accused of pulling the trigger, Rustam Makhmudov, who remains at large. A separate case has been opened against Makhmudov, whose brothers have already stood trial charged with involvement in the killing.

Karina Moskalenko, one of the lawyers representing Politkovskaya's relatives, earlier said "We want the real killer [in the dock], and we will succeed."

Novaya Gazeta reporter Politkovskaya, who gained international recognition for her reports of atrocities against civilians in the troubled Caucasus republic of Chechnya, was gunned down in an elevator in her Moscow apartment building in October 2006, in what police described as a contract killing.


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