The chief witness in the trial of two far-right activists accused of the 2009 murders of a top human rights lawyer and a journalist has withdrawn his testimony, a lawyer said.
Lawyer Stanislav Markelov and reporter Anastasia Baburova, who worked on the opposition Novaya Gazeta newspaper, were gunned down in broad daylight in downtown Moscow in January 2009.
Nikita Tikhonov and Yevgeniya Khasis – both linked to the ultranationalist group Russky Obraz – are charged with the killings.
Russia’s Investigative Committee believes Baburova was killed as a witness to the murder of Markelov, who was an active member of an anti-fascist movement.
“I only have unofficial information,” lawyer Alexander Vasilyev said. “But as far as I’m aware, Ilya Goryachev has officially withdrawn his testimony after earlier claiming that Khasis and Tikhonov had informed him of the murders.”
Vasilyev did not say whether the withdrawal was linked to reports earlier in March that details of the private lives of Judge Alexander Zamashnyuk, who presides over the trial, and Prosecutor Boris Laktionov were being discussed on a nationalist web forum.
MOSCOW, March 21 (RIA Novosti)