Moscow court gives long jail terms to journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s killers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 5:20pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 10:15pm

A Russian court yesterday sentenced two men found guilty of the murder of prominent journalist Anna Politkovskaya to life in prison, and handed lengthy jail terms to three others involved in the killing.

Moscow city court jailed Rustam Makhmudov, the Chechen man convicted of firing the fatal shots, and his uncle Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, accused of organising the hit, for life, Russian news agency Ria Novosti said.

Makhmudov's two brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim were sentenced to 14 and 12 years respectively in a penal colony, while former Moscow police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov was handed a 20-year term.

The October 2006 shooting of Politkovskaya, a reporter at liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta who had been a fierce critic of the Kremlin's tactics in Chechnya, shocked the world, but this is the first time that anyone involved in the killing has been brought to justice.

Still, almost eight years after the crime, investigators have yet to identify the person who ordered the apparent contract killing and Politkovskaya's family have said they were disappointed that the trial had not come any closer to tracking down the mastermind.

A spokesman for Russia's investigative committee, which conducted the investigation and laid the charges, vowed it would press on with attempts to bring the mastermind of the shooting to justice.

Rights activists also insisted that the investigation into the killing of the journalist would not be closed until those behind the murder also were held accountable.

"There is one fundamental question. Who ordered it? Until that is resolved the case has to remain open," Lyudmila Alexeyeva from the Moscow Helsinki group told Interfax.