Politkovskaya children to boycott ‘undignified trial’ of mother’s alleged killers

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 23, 2013) The trial of the alleged murderers of Russian investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya that is starting on Wednesday will be “patently illegitimate,” the journalist’s son and daughter said on Tuesday, refusing to attend the trial.

“In our absence and that of our lawyers, the judge began to select jurors and approved the jury,” Ilya Politkovsky and Vera Politkovskaya said in a statement made available to Interfax.

Politkovskaya’s children said that they had requested that the Moscow City Court trial be postponed but the judge appointed to preside over the proceedings had rejected their application.

“The court had been notified in writing in advance, with the necessary documents attached, that the injured party would be unable to be adequately represented at the session,” the son and daughter said.

“We waited for practically seven years for the murderers to be brought to justice, but the state is not caring enough to wait for several days. A patently illegitimate trial will begin at the Moscow City Court at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow,” Vera Politkovkaya and Ilya Politkovsky said.

They said they had been barred from the selection of the jurors and deprived of any opportunity to file the appeals they had wanted to submit – that they had practically been “struck off the list” of those involved in the criminal case.

“We the injured party refuse to participate in such a trial,” the reporter’s children said.

“We call upon the jury to follow suit,” they said.

“An attempt is being made to draw you into a farce of a trial, one in which you will be unable to fulfill your civic duty. We call upon you to reject your appointment,” Politkovskaya’s children said in addressing the jury.

“We refuse to attend the court sessions, we refuse to give any evidence and to recognize anything that would be done by Judge Melekhin during the investigation of this criminal case as legitimate,” they said.

Politkovskaya was killed at the entrance of her apartment in Moscow on October 7, 2006.

It was reported earlier that the criminal investigation against the five persons suspected of Politkovskaya’s slaying had been completed. The suspects are Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, his nephews Rustam, Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov, as well as Sergei Khadzhikurbanov. They face charges of murder and the illegal possession of weapons.

The criminal case against another suspect in the case, Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who concluded a pretrial cooperation agreement, was conducted separately. Pavlyuchenkov has been sentenced to 11 years in a maximum security penal colony for assisting in the organization of the murder of Politkovskaya.

Pavlyuchenkov confessed and signed a deal with investigators. He said that businessman Boris Berezovsky and Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev ordered the murder.

Rustam Makhmudov is considered to be the murderer. On May 31, 2011, Makhmudov was arrested in Chechnya and brought to Moscow for investigative procedures. Makhmudov has been charged under four articles of the Criminal Code: murder, illegal possession of weapons, kidnapping and extortion. His detention has been repeatedly prolonged.

Investigators believe that Lom-Ali Gaitukayev organized the crime. He created the group to which the other suspects belonged in 2006. According to the Investigative Committee’s information, the group then proceeded to plan the murder of Politkovskaya in great detail, purchased weapons and coordinated their actions, while “S. Khadzhikurbanov controlled the actions of the group.”

“Having received the information about where the victim lived from D. Pavlyuchenko, the Makhmudov brothers followed her habitual route on October 7, 2006. Having seen the victim driving, I. Makhmudov informed his brother Dzhabrail, who then told Rustam, who went to the entrance of the building where Politkovskaya lived and began to wait for her to arrive,” the Investigative Committee said.

According to investigators’ information, when Politkovskaya stepped into the elevator, R. Makhmudov shot her several times. “The weapon was left at the scene. The suspects fled after this,” the Investigative Committee said.

Former Central Internal Affairs Directorate employee S. Khadzhikurbanov is serving time for another crime. He was brought to Moscow to participate in the Politkovskaya murder case. According to the law, the court is to impose a pretrial restraint to sanction Khadzhikurbanov’s detention.