Politkovskaya Case Russia’s Biggest Justice Achievement

MOSCOW, June 9 (RIA Novosti) — A Moscow City Court prosecutor said on Monday the life sentence handed down to those found guilty of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder was the highest achievement of Russian justice, but the outcome will only satisfy the complainants when the mastermind of the murder is established.

“We find the sentence lawful, founded and just. This is the peak of the collaboration between the Investigative Committee and the prosecutors,” said Maria Semyonenko.

“This sentence is the highest achievement of Russia’s justice and the institute of the jury panel,” the prosecutor added.

Earlier on Monday, the court sentenced to life the organizer and perpetrator of the high-profile murder, Lom-Ali Gaitukayev and Rustam Makhmudov.

Other defendants in the case accused of assisting in the murder, the killer’s brothers Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov and former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, were sentenced to 12, 14 and 20 years in prison respectively. The court also ordered each to pay Politkovskaya’s children 5 million rubles (just over $145,000).

The complainants’ lawyer Anna Stavitskaya said her clients, who had always insisted on the case being reviewed by a jury, were pleased with the ruling.

“But the complainants will only be satisfied when all the people involved are on trial. Until the mastermind is named, we don’t know who that person is,” she said.

The journalist’s son, Ilya Politkovsky, said he considers all the defendants were involved in the murder but insists on continuing the investigation.

The Novaya Gazeta journalist was shot dead in the elevator of her apartment building in October 2006. Investigators tie the murder to her professional duties, some experts link it to her coverage of human rights abuses in Chechnya, although the masterminds have never been disclosed.

The defense team said it would appeal the verdict.

The five men were charged with the murder and acquitted in 2009. The Supreme Court overturned the verdict and ordered a retrial.

Some media reported that Moscow’s former police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov said in court that former Chechen military envoy Akhmed Zakayev and Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky, who died in England last year, could have ordered the murder. Politkovskaya’s relatives, however, see the information as false.

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