Russian murder trial may be merged with inquiry

Thursday 06 August 2009 00:00
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A court could halt the retrial of three men for the murder of Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya after prosecutors agreed that the case should be merged with an investigation into who ordered the hit.

Politkovskaya, who published exposés on rights abuses and corruption in Chechnya, was killed in 2006. The three suspects on trial were acquitted by a jury in February of being accomplices in the murder. But a higher court ordered a retrial, a decision criticised by Politkovskaya's family, who petitioned yesterday for the case to be sent back to state prosecutors.

If the trial judge rules in favour of the petition on Friday, the case would be merged with an investigation into the person who ordered the killing. The man accused of pulling the trigger also remains at large.

The defence lawyer Murad Musayev said he also supported the request, saying an additional investigation would help clear the name of the defendants.

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