The Russian Supreme Court has ordered three men, cleared of involvement in the murder of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya, to stand trial again.
Former policeman Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, and two brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov were acquitted in February after a trial that critics described as a farce.
The Supreme Court judge accepted the prosecution’s claim that it was riddled with procedural violations.
Prosecutor Yulia Safina said: “The case will go back to the court for a re-trial. There’ll be a new judge, and a new jury.”
But defence lawyer Murat Musayev said “We’re in court to say what we think should be said and to defend our legal position. If the Supreme Court doesn’t like it, that doesn’t mean the verdict should be overturned. But that’s life. On the day the verdict was announced we said this would happen.”
The four month case ended with the former policeman being cleared of organising the murder, and the two brothers acquitted of being accomplices. The gunman is still at large.
The 48 year old journalist had published scathing articles, exposing human rights abuses and corruption. She was gunned down outside her apartment in Central Moscow after returning from a shopping trip. Politkovskaya’s supporters allege high-level official involvement in her murder – something the Kremlin denies.
Her son believes the new trial will divert attention away from the investigation to find her killer.