The most politically-contentious crime in recent Russian history remains unsolved, with the three main defendants cleared of all charges.Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in 2006, but the only suspects – former policeman Sergei Khadzhikurbanov and brothers Dzhabrail and Ibraghim Mekhmudov – were found not guilty. Their lawyer said a conviction would have allowed the real killers to go free: “If we had had another decision here, it would mean that the real criminals, who are still somewhere among us, could continue to do what they did,” said defence lawyer Murad Musayev. Politkovskaya was a champion of human rights, who spent much of her later career attacking the Kremlin’s record under then-President Vladimir Putin. She made powerful enemies by exposing the extent of official corruption and abuse of power. She was gunned down outside her Moscow home, and no-one has been convicted of her murder. “We represented the victim, and demanded that the victim had her rights in there,” said the Politkovskaya family lawyer Karina Moskalenko. “We appealed to the judges, but no-one listened. The result? Those accused of the crime found not guilty! The real murderer or murderers must be found, and we will achieve that.” The prosecutors say they will launch an appeal, but the failure to secure a conviction for a murder linked to freedom of speech raises yet more questions about the quality of justice in modern Russia.