[JURIST] The Russian Supreme Court [official website, in Russian] on Thursday ordered 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 court vacated the acquittals [Moscow Times report] of Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, Dzhabrail Makhmudov, and Ibragim Makhmudov after prosecutors argued the trial judge made procedural errors. A lawyer observing the proceedings said the court's decision was based on the theory that the defense was permitted to put too much pressure on the jury [AP report]. The court ordered the case back [BBC report] to the Moscow Military District Court.
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.