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Russia charges three Chechens with murder of journalist covering separatists

[JURIST] Russian authorities have formally charged three men in the killing of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. Sergey Khadzhikurbanov, and brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, all from Chechnya [JURIST news archive], were among those arrested last August [JURIST report] in connection with the investigation into Politkovskaya's murder. Russian investigators have also initiated a search for a third Makhmudov brother, Rustam, who is suspected of being the actual shooter. Russian prosecutors also announced in the same statement that abuse of office charges had been filed against a Federal Security Service agent, but it was not apparent whether those charges were also related to the Politkovskaya killing. Politkovskaya wrote for the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta [media website, in Russian], and had reported extensively on the conflict between the Russian army and separatist forces in Chechnya. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

Politkovskaya, who had covered the Chechnya crisis for Novaya Gazeta since 1999, was shot [JURIST report] in the head and in the chest after returning to her Moscow apartment building on October 7, 2006. She was a well-known critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website; JURIST news archive], and authored two books on Chechnya. Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika [official website] has said that Politkovskaya's murder was orchestrated by a Moscow-based Chechen criminal group specializing in contract killings. CBC News has more.

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