Anna Politkovskaya: Russian convicted of journalist murder gets pardon

One of the five men convicted over the 2006 murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been pardoned after fighting in Ukraine, his lawyer says.

Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a former Moscow police officer, was jailed for 20 years at a trial in 2014.

His lawyer, Alexei Mikhalchik, said the pardon came after he had completed a six-month military contract.

Ms Politkovskaya’s family and employer described the decision as a “monstrous injustice”.

Ms Politkovskaya, an investigative reporter and vocal critic of Russia’s war in Chechnya, was shot in a lift in her block of flats.

Her reporting for Novaya Gazeta newspaper won international renown for her dogged investigation of Russian abuses in Chechnya.

But her pieces, which were highly critical of President Vladimir Putin, then serving his second term, and the Chechen leadership, angered many in authority.

In a joint statement, the newspaper, along with Ms Politkovskaya’s son Ilya and daughter Vera, said none of them had received notice of the pardon, adding that no efforts were being made to bring to justice others who were responsible for the murder. It has never been determined who ordered the killing.

“For us, this ‘pardon’ is not evidence of the redemption and remorse of the murderer,” the statement said.

“It’s a monstrous fact of injustice and lawlessness, desecration of the memory of a person killed for her convictions and doing her professional duty.”

Khadzhikurbanov was found guilty of providing logistical support for the murder.

“As a special forces fighter, [Khadzhikurbanov] was invited to sign a contract to participate in the special military operation,” his lawyer told AFP.

“When the contract expired, he was pardoned by presidential decree.”

The Russian defence ministry has been recruiting prisoners to fight in Ukraine, apparently taking over from the Wagner mercenary group which was the first to adopt the practice last year.


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