Anna Politkovskaya: retrial must hear new evidence
26 Jun 09

The family of the slain journalist has called for the retrial of those accused of involvement in her murder to include a comprehensive new investigation. Maria Eismont reports

The decision of the Russian Supreme Court to overturn the not guilty verdict returned by the jury in February against three men accused of being involved in the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya was a political move, rather then a legal procedure. That was the view of more than 70 per cent of respondents asked by the independent radio station Ekho Moskvy. However, a few hours earlier, more then half of its listeners had said the Supreme Court should not confirm the acquittal.

Although the result of the almost two-years-long investigation was very disappointing to the family and colleagues of Politkovskaya, the unanimous decision of the independent jury in February to declare the accused not guilty was not a surprise. Her family blamed not the jury members, but the investigators, who failed to provide solid evidence in the case — as well as failing not only to find the mastermind of the horrible crime but even the person thought to be murderer.

“We admit that the lawsuit has failed. It has failed because of the poor evidence that was presented,” read the statement of Politkovskaya’s family and lawyers, published by Novaya Gazeta. “But we consider [the accused] to be privy to the crime as we haven’t had an explanation of what they were doing near the house [of Anna Politkovskaya] at the moment of the murder.”

“As before, we think that the only possibility of progress for this case is to submit it to further inquiry. As before, we are convinced that the case has neither investigated nor uncovered … the main perpetrator and other participants of the crime.”

Murad Musayev, the lawyer for one of the accused — and later acquitted — brothers, Ibragim Makhmudov, told Ekho Moskvy he is confident his client will be found not guilty again: “We hope that everything will be repeated, including the verdict. The only risk for us is if our opponents on the side of the state manage to engage the new jury.”

Politkovskaya lawyer Anna Stavitskaya told Index on Censorship: “There is no point in just repeating everything that has already been said in the court. There was not enough evidence to convince anyone those people are definitely guilty.”