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Defendants in journalist murder case ask for jury trial

May 21, 2013, 12:38 UTC+3

In the lawyer's view, a jury can hand down an unbiased and objective verdict in the case

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MOSCOW, May 21 (Itar-Tass) - The defendants in the criminal case over the murder of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya have asked for jury trial, a lawyer told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

"All the defendants insist on review of their criminal case by a panel of jurors," Murad Musayev, a lawyer of one of the defendants, said.

Under the law, the presiding judge cannot deny jury trial even if just one of the defendants makes such a request.

In the lawyer's view, a jury can hand down an unbiased and objective verdict in the case.

The Moscow City Court told Tass it had not received the criminal case yet.

Lom-Ali Gaitukayev and his nephews - brothers Rustam, Ibragim, Dzhabrail Makhmudov - and Sergei Khadzhikurbanov are accused under Article 105, Part 2, Items b,zh, z /murder/ and Article 222, Part 3 /illegal turnover of weapons/ of Russia's penal code.

"The investigators have gathered enough evidence," Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said.

The investigator said Gaitukayev had masterminded the crime. In 2006, he set up an organized group to which he recruited other defendants and police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov. "Gaitukayev was gang leader until he was detained for masterminding an assassination attempt on the life of businessman Gennady Korban. He was convicted and is now serving a sentence. In prison, he controlled actions by gang members by telephone; and in Moscow, the crime was masterminded by Sergei Khadzhikurbanov.

"The defendants carefully planned the journalist's murder; they purhased arms and coordinated their actions," Markin said.

After receiving information from Pavlyuchenkov about the victim's address, the Makhmudov brothers took positions along the route she was taking on October 7, 2006. As Ibragim Makhmudov saw the victim in the driver's seat, he reported it to his brother Dzhabrail, and the latter passed this information to Rustam, who entered the house where Politkovskaya lived and began to wait for her. When the journalist entered the elevator, Rustam Makhmudov shot her several times. The weapon of murder was left the scene. The defendants then fled.

The criminal case against Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who had signed a plea bargain agreement, was reviewed separately. Pavlyuchenkov was sentenced to 11 years in a maximum security penitentiary.

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