Prosecutors in Moscow say they have arrested 10 people in connection with the murder of a controversial high-profile Russian journalist. Anna Politkovskaya, a critic of the Kremlin who covered the Chechen conflict, was shot dead last October. Russia’s chief prosecutor Yuri Chaika revealed at a meeting with President Putin that the group suspected of killing her was led by an ethnic Chechen crime boss.
Chaika said that charges against the ten people would be brought very soon. He added that the group may also have been connected with the murder of American journalist Paul Klebnikov in 2004. The shooting of Politkovskaya in the stairwell of her Moscow apartment triggered fierce debate over press freedom in Russia.
Her investigative work for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta covered the Kremlin’s anti-insurgency operations in Chechnya. She exposed allegations of human rights abuses by security forces and held Putin directly responsible. Some of her supporters remain cynical of the investigation. One prominent press freedom campaigner suggests the arrests are an attempt by Moscow to silence critics as the first anniversary of her death approaches.