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Anna Politkovskaya trial juror denies that Moscow jury requested exclusion of press

Members of ACAT (Action by Christians Against Torture) and Amnesty International rename the Lannes boulevard, located near Russia's Embassy in Paris, as "Anna Politkovskaya boulevard" during a demonstration to pay tribute to slain journalist and Kremlin critic (pictured bottom) in October 2008. Four men went on trial in Monday in connection with the murder of Politkovskaya.Photo: Agence France-Presse (AFP) / Olivier Laban-Mattei

A member of the Anna Politkovskaya murder trial jury has denied that the jury had asked for the press and public to be excluded, saying it was the clerk of the court who asked them to sign a statement to this effect which they had not drafted.

The jury member said this in an interview to independent radio station Echo Moskvy, according to Reporters sans Frontières (RSF).

Juror Yevgeny Kolesov told Echo Moskvy that the jurors gathered at around 11:30 a.m. on November 19, when the hearing was supposed to start, but they had to kick their heels for about an hour and a half. “We did not understand why it was taking so long. We assumed that organisational questions were being sorted out.”

Kolesov continued: “We were told we could go and have lunch at around 1:30, but before that, the clerk of the court came to see us several times and told us that there were a lot of journalists and that this might bother us. She said some of us would undoubtedly prefer not to see any cameras during the trial.

“After that, the clerk of the court brought a document for us to sign, in which it was written that we were opposed to the presence of the press because we were afraid. No one signed it. We replied that we wanted to see how the hearing went first, that it should start with the press there. We would decide later whether to ask the journalists to leave the courtroom. We did not decide that the press should be excluded.”

The jurors subsequently wrote a letter to the court saying that they “had made no statement during the trial and had only asked for a ban on filming with video cameras, but were not opposed to the print media attending the trial.”

Kolesov has also, in his own name, prepared a statement to the court asking to be dropped from the jury because he does not want to be party to a rigged trial.

The next hearing is set for December 10.

Date posted: November 22, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 331