Organizer of Politkovskaya’s murder made to keep mum about instigator

MOSCOW, August 25 (Itar-Tass) — A defense lawyer of retired police lieutenant colonel Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, suspected of organizing the assassination of observer of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper Anna Politkovskaya, told reporters that he has information on the crime instigator.

However, according to Tamara Kuchma, some interested people make him conceal this information.

“I cannot speak about an instigator, but he (Pavlyuchenkov) was warned that he should keep mum, since he had served 14 years at the Russian Interior Ministry,” the defense lawyer said, noting that threats were received “from some interested people”.

According to Kuchma, Pavlyuchenkov was twice attacked. “He was attacked, suffering grievous bodily injuries. That was the first warning, while the second – a constant pressure on him,” the lawyer explained, noting that following this, Pavlyuchenkov had become an invalid, second group. Following this, he retired from the Interior Ministry.

“We believe that those were instigators and relatives of other defendants,” Kuchma continued.

She also noted that the investigation plans to call to responsibility on this case some other persons. However, the lawyer did not specify whom she means.

Earlier in the day, the lawyer said that her client flatly denied his complicity in the crime. According to Kuchma, he is still in the status of a suspect: “no accusations were slapped on him”.

Moscow’s Basmanny Court examines the question on Thursday on Pavlyuchenkov’s arrest. His defense requested to shift on hearings by 72 hours to collect necessary evidence. The court now went to the deliberation room for decision-making.

The former ranking police officer of the Moscow Police Department was detained on August 23 during an interrogation. Spokesman of the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin said earlier that “the investigation established that Pavlyuchenkov received a contract for cash remuneration to engineer Politkovskaya’s assassination and formed a criminal group, including three Makhmudov brothers and other people”.

Then, Pavlyuchenkov, the head of a section of the Moscow Police Department, responsible for outside surveillance, instructed his subordinates to shadow the woman journalist so as to find out routes and time of her daily trips around the city.

“Later, Pavlyuchenkov obtained weapons, worked out a plan and determined a role for each subordinate in preparing and committing the murder,” the spokesman said. “Information, received by Pavlyuchenkov, and a gun for the murder were handed over directly to executor Rustam Makhmudov and his associates who followed movements by Anna Politkovskaya several days before the crime.”

Markin said “the investigation has also information of a supposed crime instigator”. “However, the investigation believes it premature to divulge this information,” he emphasized. At the same time, deputy editor-in-chief of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper Sergei Sokolov told Tass that “this is only a version” and added that Novaya Gazeta “has its own versions”.

Novaya Gazeta observer was killed on October 7, 2006 at the house elevator in the Lesnaya Street when she was coming to her flat. Five shots were made at the reporter. The investigation regards Politkovskaya’a professional activities as the main version of the crime.

Former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov and brothers Dhzabrail and Ibragim Makhmudovs were charged with complicity in the assassination. The case against Rustam Makhmudov, accused of the direct execution of the murder is tried separately. He was on the Wanted List since 1997. He was nabbed in Chechnya at the house of his relatives last May 31. To track down the whereabouts of the accused was possible thanks to cooperation with law enforcement bodies of Belgium where he had escaped and then returned to Chechnya.

The case on Politkovskaya’s murder was already heard in court. On February 20, 2009, the Moscow district military court acquitted the three defendants on the basis of a jury verdict. On June 25 the Russian Supreme Court repealed this sentence and sent the case for new examination.

However, the case was returned for additional investigation at the request of the state prosecution and representatives of the aggrieved party to combine it with the main one – with regard to the executor and a supposed instigator. The time of investigation on the case was again extended last February.

The Investigative Committee reported last October that “other people, who can be implicated in committing the murder, have been established”. For instance international requests were sent to some European countries to render legal aid.


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