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Russia may interrogate London-based alleged mastermind behind Politkovskaya murder

Anna Politkovskaya, a columnist at the Novaya Gazeta daily, was shot dead at her house in Moscow in 2006
Portrait of Anna Politkovskaya Alexander Demianchuk/TASS
Portrait of Anna Politkovskaya
© Alexander Demianchuk/TASS

MOSCOW, April 23. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee is ready to interrogate Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen militant leader in exile in London, who is accused of masterminding the 2016 high-profile murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, lawyer Anna Stavitskaya told TASS.

"We have independently questioned Zakayev, who insisted that he had not been involved in Politkovskaya’s murder. We presented this questioning to the investigators, who agreed to include it into the case files and satisfied our motion on carrying out an official interrogation of Zakayev from London in the framework of providing legal assistance by the United Kingdom’s law enforcement agencies," said Stavitskaya, who is an attorney for the victims.

The lawyer did not give any details on the possible date of this interrogation. According to her, the Russian investigators should file a request with the UK’s law enforcement agencies on providing assistance in arranging this interrogation.

On October 7, 2006, Anna Politkovskaya, a columnist at the Novaya Gazeta daily, was shot dead in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building. The court found that in July 2006 Chechen native Lom-Ali Gaitukayev got a contract for killing Politkovskaya. He recruited a team of senior Interior Ministry officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, the Makhmudov brothers and former police officer Sergey Khadzhikurbanov, who was released from prison in September 2006.

Investigators found out that Pavlyuchenkov had ordered his subordinates to track Politkovskaya’s daily movements. Later, he handed over this information and a weapon to the perpetrator of the crime, Rustam Makhmudov and his accomplices. All detained defendants in the case have been sentenced by the Moscow City Court to lengthy prison terms. Pavlyuchenkov identified exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky and Chechen militant leader Akhmed Zakayev as the masterminds of the murder.