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Russian court orders new investigation into Politkovskaya murder case

Russia's Supreme Court ordered a new investigation into the 2006 killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya on Thursday. It returned the case to the Prosecutor General’s Office. Representatives of the Prosecutor General's office said that the case against the three alleged accomplices to the crime would now be combined with the investigation into the case against those who carried out the murder and those who ordered it. Sergei Khadzhikurbanov and brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov were acquitted of their involvement in the murder in February after the trial jury stated that it did not find proof of guilt in the evidence provided by the prosecution. The Supreme Court overturned their acquittal in June and ordered that all three men face a retrial. The case was then returned to Moscow District Military Court for re-examination. Anna Politkovskaya’s family requested that the case be returned, for further investigation, to the Prosecutor General’s Office. The military court judge, however, denied the request although it was supported both by defence lawyers and prosecutors. The family had to appeal against this decision to the Supreme Court. Anna Politkovskaya was murdered on 7 October 2006 in Moscow. She had faced intimidation and harassment from Russian authorities, including the authorities in Chechnya, due to her outspoken criticism of government policy and action. After she began writing about the armed conflict in Chechnya and the North Caucasus in 1999, she was detained and threatened with serious reprisals, including death threats, on several occasions. Amnesty International has continued to campaign for a full investigation until the murderer and all his accomplices have been found and brought to justice.