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Politkovskaya family: Trial is illegitimate

Children of murdered Russian reporter boycott trial of alleged killers over timing of proceedings as Moscow trial opens.

Last Modified: 24 Jul 2013 18:32
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A Russian jury on Wednesday began hearing the case against five men suspected over the murder of anti-Kremlin reporter Anna Politkovskaya.

Judge Pavel Melekhin of the Moscow City Court declined to postpone the trial as requested by Politkovskaya's two children.

The children of Politkovskaya Vera and Ilya said, the court had rushed the trial date knowing full well they both could not take part on that date, as they were outside Moscow.

They have also complained that as the injured party their legal rights have been violated because they were not consulted over the composition of the jury.

"We refuse to take part in such a trial," they wrote in a statement published in the pages of their late mother's employer Novaya Gazeta.

Declaring the impending trial illegitimate, Politkovskaya's children calls on tTheir legal representatives to also boycott the proceedings. Their two lawyers are currently abroad.

The judge nevertheless chose to proceed with the case with only the defence present. Some of the suspects asked for their detention conditions to be improved, Novaya Gazeta reported from the courtroom.

Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya was shot to death in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building in October, 2006. The murder has widely been seen linked to her reporting about the atrocities carried out by pro-Kremlin armed groups in Chechnya.

Four Chechens and a former Moscow police officer have been charged with carrying out the murder. Lom-Ali Gaitukayev is accused of organizing the murder for a fee of $150,000. His nephew Rustam Makhmudov is said to have pulled the trigger.

An earlier jury ruling acquitted Ibragim Makhmudov, Dzhabrail Makhmudov, and Khadzhikurbanov of any involvement, but the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2009.

A sixth defendant, ex-cop Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment in December as part of his plea bargain. Pavlyuchenkov named deceased oligarch Boris Berezovsky and Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev as masterminds behind the killing.

Investigators have yet to provide any details of who the mastermind of the murder is.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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