MOSCOW, October 27 (Itar-Tass) — The Investigative Committee (SK) refiled charges against former organized crime police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov. He is accused of masterminding the murder of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya, a law-enforcement source told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
The source said the refiled charges practically do not differ from those brought against Khadzhikurbanov earlier.
"Refiling charges against Khadzhikurbanov was necessary because of the appearance of new suspects within the case, in particular after the arrest of Rustam Makhmudov and Lom-Ali Gaitukayev," he said.
Khadzhikurbanov's lawyer Alexei Mikhalchik said "indeed, the investigators have refiled the charges against Khazhikurbanov today, but essentially, they have not changed. "As before, he is accused under Article 105, Part 2, of Russia’s Criminal Code ("murder")," the lawyer said.
Mikhalchik said his client "refuses to answer the investigator's questions as he believes he is biased, but is ready to testify at the trial."
The lawyer refused to disclose details of the indictment. He noted however, that it was vague.
He said he would not protest the refiling of charges but would lodge a petition to drop the criminal case.
"The charges against Khadzhikurbanov are based on Pavlyuchenko's testimony, who has slandered many people, as it turned out, so his testimony cannot make groundwork for criminal prosecution of my client," Mikhalchik said.
On October 7, 2006, Politkovskaya was killed in a stairwell of her apartment house in Lesnaya Street, central Moscow.
The murder was committed at around 16:00, Moscow time. The killer fired five shots at the journalist. He went out of the house, sat in a VAZ-21043 car waiting for him near the Novoslobodskaya subway station, and escaped together with his accomplices.
The investigators do not rule out that Lom-Ali Gaitukayev might have organized the murder.
In July 2006, he took a contract from an unidentified person to murder Politkovskaya for remuneration. To this end, he set up a criminal group which comprised former police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, Gaitukayev's nephews Makhmudovs and former officer from the Moscow department for combating organized crime department Sergei Khadzhikurbanov.
Pavlyuchenkov, as unit head for surveillance at office # 4 at Moscow's operations/search department, ordered his subordinates to monitor the journalist to find out her daily routes in the city.
He later purchased weapons, worked out a plan, and assigned a role to each of his accomplices in preparing and perpetrating the murder.
"The information obtained by Pavlyuchenkov and the weapon of murder were passed to perpetrator Rustam Makhmudov and his accomplices, who had been tailing Anna Politkovskaya several days before the crime," Investigative Committee (SK) spokesman Vladimir Markin said.
Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, as Pavlyuchenko, earlier testified as a witness in the case. He stated at the trial that he had been paid 2 million dollars for the murder. A representative of Politkovskaya's family insisted that the court detected a grave error in establishing the time of the murder. She added that prosecutors had suspected Lom-Ali Gaitukayev of involvement before, but had no evidence to show to the court.
Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, sentenced to 12 years for masterminding the assassination attempt on the life of a businessman in Ukraine, was convoyed from a penal colony to Moscow in later September at the request of the investigator handling the Politkovskaya case.
This criminal case has already been reviewed in court. The defendants were Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov and Sergei Khadzhikurbanov. In February 2009, the Moscow district military court acquitted them on the strength of a jury verdict, but the Supreme Court later overturned it and sent the case for re-investigation.
Khadzhikurbanov was sentenced to 8 years in jail in an extortion case.