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Russia arrests ex-Chechen official in Politkovskaya murder probe

[JURIST] A former official in the Chechen government has been arrested in connection with the murder of Russian journalist and rights activist Anna Politkovskaya [JURIST news archive], Russian media reported Saturday. The Komsomolskaya Pravda [media website] tabloid reported that Shamil Burayev, a one-time district head in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya, had been arrested by police Thursday and is suspected of "organizing a murder." RFE/RL has more.

Politkovskaya, who had covered the crisis in Chechnya for Novaya Gazeta [media website, in Russian] since 1999, was shot in the head and in the chest after returning to her Moscow apartment building one day last October. She was a well known critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and authored two books on Chechnya. Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika [official website, in Russian] announced last month that Russian authorities had arrested ten people after an investigation into the killing; two of those were later released [JURIST reports]. Chaika says that Politkovskaya's murder was orchestrated by a Moscow-based Chechen criminal group specializing in contract killings.

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