Three men who were cleared on charges in connection with the murder of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya are to stand trial again.
Former policeman Sergei Khadzhikurbanov and two Chechen brothers Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov were acquitted in February of helping the killer. But the Supreme Court in Moscow overturned the verdicts and has ordered a re-trial. The brothers were acquitted of acting as accomplices, and Kadzhikyurbanov was cleared of organising the murder after four months in the dock. The Politkovskaya family lawyer claimed in court that the killing had been organised at a much higher level than the accused. The gunman who pulled the trigger is still at large. Politkovskaya was murdered outside her flat in Moscow in October 2006. She had returned with shopping to be confronted by her killer. The 48-year-old wrote frequently about human rights abuses and corruption in Chechnya, and had become a thorn in the Kremlin’s side. When the Moscow District Military Court freed the accused, questions were raised about Russia’s resolve to protect free-speech. At ceremonies to remember Politkovskaya, they carried banners that read ‘the price of the truth is death’.