News reporter, Anna Politkovskaya, one of the Kremlin’s most vociferous critics, was murdered in her Moscow apartment building on October 7, 2006. Allegedly, Chechen brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov provided transportation for the shooter while brother Rustam who is still at large, and former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov provided logistical support. No one has been charged with ordering Politkovskaya’s killing. After a four month trial, the Makhmudov brothers were found not guilty of acting as accomplices in the murder by a military tribunal; Khadzhikurbanov was also cleared of any role.
However, in June of this year, the acquittals of the Makhmudov brothers and Khadzhikurbanov were overturned and the case was remanded to the lower court for a new trial. Family members of Politkovskaya petitioned the court to include as part of the new trial investigations into the identity and whereabouts of the others involved in the killing. The trial court, however, denied the petition over the prosecutor’s support on the ground that there was no legal basis for combining the matters.
Russia is the third most dangerous country for journalists, after Iraq and Algeria. Since 1992, over 50 journalists have been killed in Russia.