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MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) — The Basmanny Court of Moscow on Monday will consider the extension of the custody term for Rustam Makhmudov – the suspected killer of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper journalist Anna Politkovskaya. The court’s press secretary Yekaterina Korotova told Itar-Tass that the investigator asks the court to extend the custody term for the suspect until December 7.
Rustam Makhmudov, 37, is charged with committing crimes under Article 105, Part 2 and Article 222, part 1 of the RF Criminal Code (murder and illegal turnover of weapons) and Article 125.1 Part 2 and Article 148 part 3 of the RF Criminal Code (kidnapping and extortion). The first article envisages punishment up to life imprisonment. According to investigators, it was Rustam Makhmudov who killed the journalist. He is also charged with other crimes committed in Moscow, including kidnapping and extortion of another’s property under the threat of violence against the person and his family. These crimes, according to the investigation, he committed in the mid-1990s.
Rustam Makhmudov has been on the wanted list since 1997. Earlier, the investigation charged him in absentia with murder and a measure of restraint in the form of detention was chosen for him, he was put on the international wanted list. On May 31, he was detained in Achkhoi-Martan in Chechnya, in the house of his relatives.
The arrested former Moscow police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who on Sunday concluded a cooperation agreement with the investigation, is the alleged organiser of Politkovskaya’s murder. According to him, a certain Lom-Ali Gaitukayev could be the mastermind of this high-profile crime.
Anna Politkovskaya was shot to death on October 7, 2006 at the entrance to her house in Lesnaya Street when she was returning home. According to the investigators, the basic version of the motive for the crime is her professional activities.
Earlier, former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov and Rustam Makhmudov’s brothers – Dzhabrail and Ibragim, were charged with complicity in the murder. On February 20, 2009, the Moscow District Military Court on the basis of the jury’s verdict acquitted the three defendants. On June 25 of the same year, the RF Supreme Court overturned the verdict and took the case for a new trial, which began on August 5, 2009. At the request of the public prosecution and representatives of the injured party, the case was returned for further investigation to the prosecutor’s office for consolidating with the main one – against the actual perpetrator and the supposed person who ordered the crime. In February 2010, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov was sentenced to eight years in jail on charges of extortion.
The former ranking police officer of the Moscow Police Department Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov was detained during an interrogation on August 23. Spokesman of the Russian Investigation Committee (SK) Vladimir Markin said earlier that “the investigation established that Pavlyuchenkov received a contract for cash remuneration to engineer Politkovskaya’s assassination and formed a criminal group, including three Makhmudov brothers and other people.”
Then, Pavlyuchenkov, the head of a section of the Moscow Police Department, responsible for outside surveillance, instructed his subordinates to shadow the woman journalist so as to find out routes and time of her daily trips around the city.
“Later, Pavlyuchenkov obtained weapons, worked out a plan and determined a role for each subordinate in preparing and committing the murder,” the spokesman said. “Information, received by Pavlyuchenkov, and a gun for the murder were handed over directly to executor Rustam Makhmudov and his associates who followed movements by Anna Politkovskaya several days before the crime.”
Markin said “the investigation has also information of a supposed crime instigator.” “However, the investigation believes it premature to divulge this information,” he emphasized. At the same time, deputy editor-in-chief of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper Sergei Sokolov told Itar-Tass that “this is only a version” and added that Novaya Gazeta “has its own versions.”
Novaya Gazeta observer was killed on October 7, 2006 at the house elevator in Lesnaya Street when she was coming to her flat. Five shots were made at the reporter. The investigation regards Politkovskaya’s professional activities as the main version of the crime.
The case on Politkovskaya’s murder was already heard in court. On February 20, 2009, the Moscow district military court acquitted the three defendants on the basis of a jury verdict. On June 25, the Russian Supreme Court repealed this sentence and sent the case for new examination.
However, the case was returned for additional investigation at the request of the state prosecution and representatives of the aggrieved party to combine it with the main one – with regard to the executor and a supposed instigator. The time of investigation on the case was again extended last February.
The Investigation Committee reported last October that “other people, who can be implicated in committing the murder, have been established”. For instance international requests were sent to some European countries to render legal aid.