Politkovskaya’s murder: solved or fudged?

Published on openDemocracy, by Maryana Torocheshnikova, February 19, 2009.

Novaya Gazeta correspondent Anna Politkovskaya was killed on October 7, 2006, in the entrance to the building where she lived. Law enforcement officials said straight away that they thought the murder was connected to her professional activity …

… Evidence pointing at others, not charged

Defence lawyer Musayev said that the investigation had collected a lot of evidence implicating other people in Politkovskaya’s murder, but at some point the decision was taken to abandon the initial version of events.

“They had identified more or less a group of people, especially those who could have been tracking Politkovskaya”, he said. “They were people from the search and operations departments in a number of law enforcement and secret service agencies. They identified the approximate group of people who could have been involved in organising the crime and working out where Politkovskaya lived. But then the prosecutor’s office had to make themselves look good in the public eye by saying they’d solved the Politkovskaya case, and in the end scapegoats were found to appear as the accused in court. In gathering this group of people, implicated and not implicated, they have simply chosen those whose bosses will do nothing to protect them, who will be the most harmless and helpless. There are many suspects against whom real evidence exists: they are not in court today, but are walking free”.

Speaking to journalists a year ago, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said that those who gave the order for Politkovskaya’s murder were not in Russia but abroad. “This was in the interests above all of people and organisations seeking to destabilise the situation in the country, change the constitutional order, create a crisis situation and bring about a return to the old management system in which money and oligarchs decided everything”, he said.

Most observers were sceptical about Chaika’s statement, all the more so as a year and a half after that press conference, Russia’s law enforcement officials have yet to name those suspected of ordering the murder from abroad … (full text).

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