Thursday 3 September 2009

Russia court orders new Politkovskaya murder probe

Russia's Supreme Court agrees a request from the family of murdered Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya to send the case back to prosecutors for a new probe.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA (SEPTEMBER 3, 2009) REUTERS - Russia's Supreme Court on Thursday (September 3) agreed a request from the family of murdered Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya to send the case back to prosecutors for a new probe to find whoever ordered her shooting.
Politkovskaya's children Ilya and Vera, were in court to hear the supreme court judge read the verdict supporting their appeal.

"The appeal of the representatives of the [Politkovskaya] family - lawyers Moskalenko and Stavitskaya - to return the case to the prosecutor's office in order to combine it with the case of Makhmudov Rustam Ruslanovich and other unidentified people - which was supported during the hearing by the prosecutor's representative - was carried," said the judge.

The Politkovskaya family lawyer, Karina Moskalenko, gave the court decision a qualified welcome.

"The appeal of the family was carried. And of course we are satisfied, but it is a moderate satisfaction, because it gives a chance to present a better investigated case, it gives an opportunity to the prosecutor's office to send new case to the court, not the case they sent last time," said Moskalenko.

"But whether the general prosecutor's office will use this opportunity we don't know," Moskalenko added.

A Moscow military court last month turned down a petition by Politkovskaya's family to return the case to prosecutors to be merged with an investigation to find whoever masterminded the murder.

"Now the case will be returned to the prosecutor, the prosecutor will return to the investigator, and what the investigator is going to do with this case we don't know. We hope that this time it will be better investigated and there will be an attempt not to falsify evidence," said Murat Musayev, lawyer for the defendants who were found not guilty in the first trial.

Politkovskaya, a 48-year-old mother-of-two who published scathing exposes of official corruption and rights abuses, was shot as she returned to a central Moscow apartment block from a supermarket on October 7, 2006.

The journalist's killing sparked outrage in the West, which called on the Kremlin to ensure her killers were brought to justice.

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