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Russia investigators arrest ex-officer for Politkovskaya murder

Russian investigators on Wednesday arrested a former police officer in connection with the 2006 murder [JURIST report] of journalist Anna Politkovskaya [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. Authorities arrested Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov [RFE/RL report], who is suspected of arranging Politkovskaya's murder and hiring three Chechen men who have also been implicated in the case. Pavlyuchenkov purportedly organized a criminal unit to carry out the murder in exchange for money. A spokesperson for Russia's federal Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, also indicated that the agency had procured information about the unidentified mastermind of the murder, but has not yet made that information public.

A human rights activist and critic of the Kremlin, Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in an elevator of her apartment building in Moscow as she was returning home. Politkovskaya investigated human rights abuses in Chechnya and high-level corruption across Russia, and her death raised concerns about the safety of journalists and other critics of the government. At the time she was working for the low-circulation independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta [official website, in Russian] where she was writing reports on Chechnya. Her death was widely believed to be a contract killing. Russia's Federal Security Service charged Rustam Makhmudov for the murder [JURIST report] in June. Two of Makhmudov's brothers and a former police officer are currently awaiting trial for the murder in Moscow. A district court acquitted those three men in February 2009 due to a lack of prosecutorial evidence, but the Russian Supreme Court vacated the acquittal and ordered a reinvestigation of the case [JURIST reports].

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