A Russian judge has rejected a prosecution request to bar the public from a trial linked to the murder of prominant journalist Anna Politkovskaya. A military court in Moscow has opened preliminary hearings against four men accused of involvement in the killing of the investigative reporter. Her colleagues and the accused told the court they preferred an open trial; the prosecution argued it was worried about sensitive evidence being made public.
One of the accused was employed by the secret service, and the newspaper where Politkovskaya worked had this to say outside the court: “The special service, which can do anything with total disregard for the law, which can kill and hire special units to carry out its criminal activities, has its own interests in the case.” Politkovskaya often wrote articles on human rights that embarrassed the Kremlin, but she also angered political clans in Chechnya. She was shot dead outside her Moscow apartment in October 2006. Prosecutors say the man accused of pulling the trigger has fled the country, while the four on trial are charged with complicity. They are accused of tracking the reporter’s movements and passing on information about her. The accused include the secret service officer, a policeman, and two Chechen brothers. But authorities say they were not able to establish who actually ordered the killing.