Monday, December 8, 2008

Politkovskaya's killers

The trial of the suspected murders of Anna Politkovskaya, which up until now has been sort of a farce, has revealed some startling (but unsurprising) accusations by a deputy editor of Politkovskaya's former newspaper: the suspects were agents of the FSB. Though Novaya Gazeta editor Sergei Sokolov declined to give his source, he fingered defendant Dzhabrail Makhmudov as an agent, and FSB officer Pavel Ryaguzov as his minder – obviously, both denied the charge.

The Moscow Times adds this example of how the FSB might have ordered the killing and convinced the agents to not expose the FSB's role:

"[The defendents' uncle Lom-Ali Gaitukayev] recruited his nephews and several of his acquaintances to commit the crime," he said.

Sokolov said Gaitukayev was also in contact with Kazbek Dukuzov, who was acquitted of the murder of Paul Klebnikov in 2006, and Rustam Makhmudov, a brother of the defendants who is suspected of being the triggerman in the Politkovskaya killing and is believed to be living abroad.

Separately, Gaitukayev said in court that he had heard from investigators that the killers were paid $2 million, defense lawyer Andrei Litvin said. The court was closed to journalists while Gaitukayev gave evidence because prosecutors said he might reveal state secrets.

Litvin, the lawyer of [co-defendant] Khadzhikurbanov, also told journalists outside the courtroom that his client had been pressured by investigators to confess that the murder was ordered by self-exiled businessman Boris Berezovsky for a payment of 4 million euros ($5 million).

For more information on why Politkovskaya was murdered, and the information that might have gotten both her and Alexander Litvinenko killed, check out this article by Larisa Alexandrovna at The Raw Story.

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