A former Russian policeman has been sentenced to 11 years in a prison camp for his role in the 2006 death of an anti-Kremlin journalist.

Friday's sentencing of Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov by the Moscow city court came at the end of a plea bargain process that qualified him for a reduced sentence in exchange for his co-operation in the case.

Pavlyuchenkov was accused of tracking Anna Politkovskaya so she could be assassinated and of giving the shooter the gun with which the journalist was killed.

Having confessed his guilt, the defendant was ordered to pay $98,000 to the victim's family.

Politkovskaya's family opposed the deal, which allowed Pavlyuchenkov to admit his guilt without testifying, on the grounds that it would not help find the masterminds of the killing.

The alleged triggerman and four other defendants will be tried separately.

Politkovskaya, a sharp critic of Kremlin policies in Chechnya, was gunned down in her apartment building on October 7, 2006.

The ruling came on the same day as Moscow denied any involvement in the murder of another Kremlin critic and former spy in 2006.

A British lawyer on Thursday told a preliminary hearing into Alexander Litvinenko's poisoning that the Russian government was most likely involved in his death, which has soured relations between Moscow and London.

But Alexander Lukashevich, foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters: "We hope that as a result of the [legal process]... all the baseless allegations about some kind of a Russian involvement in this affair will be dispelled once and for all."

Source: Agencies