Democracy 'strangled'

The retrial at a military court in Moscow, Russia's capital, follows a decision by the country's supreme court to overturn acquittal verdicts on the suspects in a previous trial.

Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, two brothers, are accused of acting as drivers at the murder scene for the killer, who prosecutors say was a third brother, Rustam, who is still at large.

Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a former police investigator, is charged with providing logistical assistance for the killing.

Politkovskaya had written dozens of articles for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper and a book called Putin's Russia, accusing the former president of using the Chechen conflict to strangle democracy in the country.