New charges in Russian journalist’s death

October 7, 2011

On the fifth anniversary of the killing of Anna Politkovskaya, a crusading journalist who became famous for her coverage of the wars in Chechnya, a Chechen businessman was indicted here Friday for his role as an organizer of the crime.

The charges against Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, who is currently serving a prison term for attempted murder in another case, follow the arrests earlier this year of other men, including two retired police officers, in connection with the Politkovskaya killing. But investigators have not identified who gave the order to have her gunned down.

Politkovskaya, writing in the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, exposed abuses by Chechen forces fighting alongside the Russians against the rebels. Those forces eventually gained the upper hand, and today Chechnya is ruled by one of their leaders, Ramzan Kadyrov.

By Friday evening, mourners had left dozens of flowers on the sidewalk outside her apartment building — as well as a copy of the Russian constitution.  

     The killing took place on then-President Vladimir Putin’s 54th birthday. A few days afterward he dismissed her work as “insignificant.”

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