Moscow media name suspected killer of Politkovskaya
(dpa) - Following claims by Russian prosecutors that they had identified who shot investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, murdered in a contract-style killing in 2006, Moscow's tabloid press have named the suspected killer as Chechen Ruztam Makhmudov, 30.
Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper cited sources close to the case in naming the man, who is still at large.
Echo Moskvy radio station reported Saturday that Makhmudov was the brother of a man already arrested in connection with the murder.
The press reports did not give any further details on the man.
Politkovskaya, 48, a fierce critic of the Kremlin, was gunned down outside her Moscow flat on October 7, 2006.
She had primarily reported from the war-ravaged republic of Chechnya on human rights abuses by Russian and Chechen security forces.
Investigator Vyacheslav Smirnov said Friday that the authorities knew the name of Politkovskaya's killer. A similar claim had been made in October, prompting protests about foot-dragging from Politkovskaya's former colleagues at Novaya Gazeta.
Ludmilla Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group and a leading Russian human rights activist, said prosecutors had concocted Friday's statement to preserve their reputations and on the heels of vital diplomatic meetings.
"News that a suspect has been established could have been announced in connection with a forthcoming NATO summit and Russian-US meetings there," Alexeyeva told Interfax news agency.
A NATO summit is scheduled for April 2-4 in the Romanian capital Bucharest.
Russian judicial authorities have so far filed cases against nine suspects in the Politkovskaya killing.
Smirnov said prosecutors had access to 60 witness statements in the case and five legal reports.