Convicted Murderer of Russian Journalist Anna Politkovskaya Pardoned After Fighting in Ukraine

Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a former Moscow police officer convicted in the 2006 murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, has been pardoned following his service in the military conflict in Ukraine. Khadzhikurbanov, 44, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2014 for his involvement in the murder. His lawyer, Alexei Mikhalchik, confirmed the pardon, stating it was granted after Khadzhikurbanov completed a six-month military contract.

Anna Politkovskaya, an acclaimed investigative reporter known for her critical coverage of Russia’s war in Chechnya and her opposition to President Vladimir Putin, was fatally shot in her Moscow apartment block. Her work for Novaya Gazeta newspaper had earned international recognition and provoked the ire of many in power. The mastermind behind her murder remains unidentified.

The family of Ms. Politkovskaya and her employer, Novaya Gazeta, have expressed outrage at the pardon, calling it a “monstrous injustice” and a desecration of her memory. They emphasized the lack of justice for others involved in the murder and the absence of efforts to find those who ordered the killing.

Khadzhikurbanov’s role in the murder was logistical support. His lawyer stated that as a special forces fighter, Khadzhikurbanov was recruited to participate in what Russia terms its “special military operation” in Ukraine. Upon the contract’s completion, he was pardoned by presidential decree.

This case has brought to light the Russian defense ministry’s recruitment of prisoners to fight in Ukraine, a practice reportedly initiated by the Wagner mercenary group. Rustam Makhmudov, the triggerman in Ms. Politkovskaya’s murder, received a life sentence, while other accomplices received varying sentences.

The European Court of Human Rights in 2018 criticized Russian authorities for failing to adequately investigate who commissioned the murder. Ms. Politkovskaya’s extensive reporting on Chechnya earned her numerous international awards, despite facing detentions and threats.

The Kremlin recently acknowledged using prisoner recruits in Ukraine, with some being offered pardons for their service. Critics have raised concerns about the potential for new crimes committed by these recruits upon their return. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov justified the practice, stating that convicts are atoning for their crimes on the battlefield.

Author: CrimeDoor

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