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Russia military judge orders open trial for men accused in killing of journalist

[JURIST] A Moscow District Military Court judge ruled on Monday that the trial of three men accused in the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya [BBC obituary] will be made open to the public [AP report]. This decision came after the family of the slain journalist requested that the trial remain open [AFP report] despite the prosecution's fear that an open trial would expose classified security information used as evidence. The family asserts that the actual killer responsible for Politkovskaya's murder has not been found. While an open trial is a victory for the family, presiding military judge Yevgeny Zubov has threatened to close the trial again [RIA Novosti report] if there is any pressure on the jury.

Sergey Khadzhikurbanov and brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, all from Chechnya, were arrested [JURIST report] in August 2007. The main suspect, Rustam Makhmudov, also from Chechnya, has yet to be captured, but Russian authorities have said he is hiding in Western Europe. Closed preliminary hearings in the case began [JURIST report] last month. Politkovskaya, a reporter for the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta [official website], was murdered [JURIST report] after returning to her Moscow apartment building in October 2006.

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