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Suspected mastermind of Anna Politkovskaya murder arrested

Investigators said the former Russian police officer is accused of organising the journalist’s assassination in 2006.

A woman places flowers at a memorial rally to Anna Politkovskaya in 2009
A woman places flowers at a memorial rally to Anna Politkovskaya in 2009
Image: Pavel Golovkin/AP/Press Association Images

AUTHORITIES IN RUSSIA have arrested a former senior police officer on suspicion of organising the murder of campaigning journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006.

Ex-police lieutenant colonel Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov was taken into custody yesterday, with investigators saying he is suspected of taking payment to procure the murder weapon and orchestrate the group who killed Ms Politkovskaya.

The 48-year-old journalist’s body was found in the elevator of her Moscow apartment block in 2006 after she was gunned down. She had published a prominent series of articles exposing corruption in Chechnya and accusing then-president Vladimir Putin of using the conflict there to justify anti-democtratic measures.

AFP reports that investigators – who have failed to secure any convictions in the five years since the murder – yesterday released a statement saying: “According to the investigation, Pavlyuchenkov received the order to organise the killing of Anna Politkovskaya from an unknown individual in exchange for a monetary reward and gave his agreement.”

According to the BBC, investigators added that Pavlyuchenkov was paid “by a person whose identity is still unknown”.

Earlier this year, authorities arrested a man suspected of being the gunman in Ms Politkovskaya’s killing. Rustam Makhmudov was apprehended in Chechnya. Two of his brothers, along with a third man, are also accused of being part of the murder gang.

Read more: Suspected killer of Russian journalist arrested >

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Michael Freeman

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