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Russia court begins retrial of suspects acquitted of Politkovskaya murder

[JURIST] The Moscow Military District Court on Wednesday began the retrial of three men acquitted [JURIST report] of involvement in the 2006 shooting death of journalist Anna Politkovskaya [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. The Russian Supreme Court [official website, in Russian] ordered the retrial [JURIST report] of Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, Dzhabrail Makhmudov, and Ibragim Makhmudov in June after prosecutors argued the trial judge made procedural errors. As Wednesday's trial opened before a new judge, the prosecutor petitioned to combine the case [Itar-Tass report] with an investigation against other suspects, including Rustam Makhmudov, the brother of Dzhabrail and Ibragim, who is thought to be in hiding under an alias. Proceedings were adjourned until Friday, at which time Judge Nikolai Tkachuk is expected to rule on the prosecutor's petition.

Khadzhikurbanov, Dzhabrail Makhmudov, and Ibragim Makhmudov were acquitted in February after a jury found that the evidence against the three was not enough [RIA Novosti report] to support convictions. A week later, prosecutors appealed the acquittals [JURIST report]. In November 2008, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office [official website, in Russian] requested a new judge [JURIST report], claiming that Moscow Military District Court judge Yevgeny Zubov had violated procedural rules. Zubov refused to recuse himself [JURIST report] from the trial. Khadzhikurbanov, Dzhabrail Makhmudov, and Ibragim Makhmudov were arrested [JURIST report] in August 2007 in connection with Politkovskaya's slaying.

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