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Suspected killer of Russian journalist arrested

The man suspected of pulling the trigger on Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 has been arrested in Chechnya.

File photo of murdered investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
File photo of murdered investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
Image: Press Association Images

THE SUSPECTED GUNMAN in the 2006 killing of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been arrested, officials confirmed today.

The suspect, Rustam Makhmudov, was arrested in Chechnya and is to be transferred to Moscow soon, said Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, the country’s top criminal investigation body.

Politkovskaya was internationally renowned for her reports in the newspaper Novaya Gazeta on violence, police oppression and corruption in Chechnya and other parts of the Russian Caucasus gripped by an Islamic insurgency. She was a sharp critic of the Kremlin and of its appointed strongman in Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.

She was gunned down in her Moscow apartment building and her body was found in the building’s elevator.

The brutal attack drew worldwide attention to violence against journalists in Russia. Journalism watchdog groups have rated Russia as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for reporters. Suspicions of government involvement in the killing were widespread, reinforced by the handling of the case since then.

Two of Makhmudov’s brothers and another man were accused of playing support roles in the killing, including as lookout and getaway driver. A court found them not guilty in 2009, but the Russian Supreme Court overruled the acquittal and sent the case back to prosecutors.

Novaya Gazeta deputy editor Sergei Sokolov welcomed the announcement of Makhmudov’s arrest.

“It’s a good possibility to bring closer a judgment of the guilty and expose a large number of participants,” he was quoted as saying by the news agency ITAR-Tass.

- AP

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