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Politkovskaya murder: concern lingers two years on

Politkovskaya murder: concern lingers two years on
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Tuesday marks the second anniversary of the assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, an event which remains a source of huge concern for human rights groups. Friends and followers of the slain reporter today held a solemn rally in Moscow. They are demanding a public trial to bring her killers to justice.

Last week prosecutors referred the trial of four men in connection with her murder to a military tribunal which will start next week. There are fears this will be closed to the press and public.

Russian officials say they are doing all they can on the case, even though the main suspect is still at large.

A spokesman for public prosecutions said a separate investigation had been opened into Rustam Makhmudov, who he claims carried out the crime. He added that Makhmudov is today the subject of an international arrest warrant and that the investigation will continue until all those responsible have been convicted.

Officials say Rustam Makhmudov, of Chechen origin, is on the run somewhere in western Europe. Two of his brothers and a former Russian police officer are charged with helping to plan the shooting outside Politkovskaya’s home.

A fourth man, a former secret service agent suspected of providing the journalist’s address, is accused of abuse of office. In the lead up to her death, Politkovskaya had been working on a report of torture and human rights abuses in Chechnya. Her family says authorities failed to give her adequate protection despite a clear threat to her life. Some Kremlin opponents even go so far as to suggest the state may have had a hand in the murder.