Yevgeny Kolesov said on Thursday that it was the court that made the decision to bar the press, not the jurors.

Politkovskaya, aged 48 when she died, was a writer of books and articles that fiercely criticised Vladimir Putin, the then Russian president, notably for abuses committed by Russian forces during the second Chechen war, which took place under his watch.

Her killing, as she returned home carrying bags of groceries from a shopping trip, sparked outrage internationally and among opposition groups in Russia, with some critics pointing the finger of blame at the Russian leadership.