Court extends custody for suspected journalist’s killer to Dec 7

MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow’s Basmanny court on Monday extended custody for Chechnya resident Rustam Makhmudov, accused of the murder of Novaya Gazeta observer Anna Politkovskaya. The court thereby met the investigator’s petition.

“The court rules to extend the term of custody for Makhmudov by three months to December 7, 2011,” a judge announced.

The court met behind closed doors. According to Makhmudov’s lawyer Darya Trenina, the investigator, arguing for the suspect’s arrest, claimed that he might escape, put pressure on witnesses or obstruct the probe in some other way.

The prosecutor supported the investigator’s position.

For his part, the defence, without any real hope that its request would be met, asked the court to change the measure of restraint.

“He denies his guilt; he fully denies all the charges,” Trenina said.

She challenged the investigator’s arguments that Makhmudov had been in hiding. “Rustam was detained at his native home, where he was registered, where he had been living all the time,” she said.

The lawyer would appeal the Basmanny court’s ruling at the Moscow City Court. Trenina said she did not expect the court would grant bail. “This case has caused a much too huge public stir,” according to the lawyer.

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