On the day that three men go on trial over the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, French police are investigating claims of an attempt to poison her family’s lawyer.
Two Chechen brothers, Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, are charged with conducting surveillance on Politkovskaya while former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov is accused of providing technical help. All three say they are innocent.
The reporter, a fierce critic of Kremlin policy in Chechnya, was shot in Moscow two years ago.
But Politkovskaya’s supporters complain the principal suspects will not be in the dock; a third Makhmudov brother, who prosecutors believe was the gunman, is allegedly on the run. Police say they still do not know who ordered the killing nor why.
There is controversy even as the trial begins: Karina Moskalenko, who was due to represent the Politkovskaya family, says she found poisonous mercury in her car in the French city of Strasbourg. She claims it was a warning to stay away.