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Russia names new lead prosecutor in Politkovskaya killing probe

[JURIST] Russia has appointed a new lead prosecutor to investigate the October 2006 killing [JURIST report] of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], according to a statement from the Prosecutor General's office [official website, in Russian] Tuesday. Control over the investigation was handed to Sergei Ivanov in a move that Politkovskaya's former colleagues at the newspaper Novaya Gazeta [media website, in Russian] say is evidence of political interference. Last week, then-lead prosecutor Pyotr Gabriyan arrested 10 suspects [JURIST report] in connection with the crime; Gabriyan was well liked by Politkovskaya allies, many of whom suspect Kremlin involvement in the murder. Russian officials, including Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika, say that Politkovskaya was murdered by an anti-Kremlin crime organization. Officials denied that Ivanov's appointment was political, saying the leadership change was necessary because of the large volume of work on the case. Reuters has more.

Politkovskaya, who had covered the crisis in Chechnya [BBC Q&A] for Novaya Gazeta since 1999, was shot in the head and in the chest after returning to her Moscow apartment building in October last year. Politkovskaya was a well-known critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and authored two books on Chechnya. Last week two of the 10 arrested suspects were released; so far four suspects have reportedly been charged [JURIST reports].

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