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Anna Politkovskaya’s murderer identified, steps launched to trace killer

People attend a remembrance ceremony for murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya outside the Russian embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, October 7, 2007.Photo: Scanpix/Johan Nilsson//Reuters

The killer of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been identified and placed on the country's 'most wanted' list, news agency RIA-Novosti reported Friday quoting the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office.

The journalist, who gained international recognition for her criticism of the Kremlin and reports of atrocities against civilians in the troubled Caucasus republic of Chechnya, was gunned down in the entryway of her Moscow apartment building in October 2006.

"The person who killed Politkovskaya has been identified, and investigators are taking steps to trace and arrest the suspect," Vyacheslav Smirnov from the Prosecutor-General's Office said.

The prosecutor, RIA-Novosti reported, said nine people had so far been charged in connection with the case, including former FSB Colonel Pavel Ryaguzov, who is alleged to have passed the journalist's address on to accomplices. Custody of Ryaguzov was extended by a military court until August 21 on Friday.

However, the editor of Novaya Gazeta newspaper, where Politkovskaya worked, said later on Friday that the information related to the killer was "nothing new", and had been released by prosecutors in order to extend custody of Ryaguzov. "As a matter of fact, there is nothing new in this because on October 6 last year this announcement was officially made to Novaya Gazeta by the head of the investigating group," said Dmitry Muratov.

“The big question has not been answered,” Reporters sans frontières (RSF) said. “The authorities have still not shown their determination or ability to find and punish those who gave the orders for this crime. We are waiting for them to act.”

"This information has emerged once more due to the fact that it was necessary to extend custody of one of those people [Pavel Ryaguzov] detained on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Politkovskaya. As grounds for doing so it was announced that in connection with the establishment of the killer's identity, and the search, it was necessary to keep him in custody," Muratov added.

The complex investigation, during which about 60 witnesses have reportedly been interviewed, has been extended until September 7 this year. The preventive detention of Burayev and two other suspects, Tamerlan Makhmudov and Mogamed Dimelkhanov, has been prolonged until 7 April, according to RSF.

The head of the investigation, Alexander Bastrykin, told the Izvestia newspapers on October 2 last year that Burayev was the main organiser of the killing. Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika had announced on August 27 the arrest of 10 suspects. His office said they suspected the murder was the work of a Chechen gang helped by police accomplices.

Date posted: March 28, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 521