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Court Refuses to Overturn Pavliuchenkov’s Plea Bargain

13 December 2012 


Source: HRO.org (info)
Moscow City Court has refused the victims’ request to overturn the deal struck with the judiciary by Dmitry Pavliuchenkov, the former head of surveillance at Moscow’s Main Internal Affairs Directorate accused of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, reports Grani.Ru, citing RIA Novosti. Politkovskaya’s children, Ilya and Vera, consider Pavliuchenkov’s version of events concerning the organisers of the crime and his own role in it to be implausible. 

The lawyer Anna Stavitskaya noted that Pavliuchenkov claimed that Boris Berezovsky and Akhmed Zakayev ordered the killing, whilst the investigation said the motive for the crime was resentment towards Politkovskaya’s articles. “It is well known that Berezovsky has been living in England for a long time. It is hard to believe that he 'ordered' the murder due to his displeasure with publications regarding violations of human rights in Russia, corruption and abuse of office”, the lawyer said.

Earlier in the hearing, the victims announced that they were filing a lawsuit against the accused party. “The crime has caused moral suffering, and we are seeking 10 million roubles [approximately £200,000] compensation for moral harm”, Stavitskaya said. The court noted the claim, and will reach a decision on it at the same time as the sentencing.

Moscow City Court started its examination of the Pavliuchenkov case, which is being dealt with separately from the rest of the case, on Wednesday 12 December. A special procedure is being followed, without evidence or witnesses, since Pavliuchenkov has fully admitted his guilt and testified against his accomplices. The investigation believes that Pavliuchenkov organised the illegal surveillance of Politkovskaya. The other police officers involved in this operation will not be tried, since the four-year statute of limitations that applies to the crime of abuse of office has elapsed.

On 9th October, Politkovskaya’s children sent a petition to the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor-General’s Office asking that the pre-trial agreement made with Pavliuchenkov be overturned. They believe his case should not be tried separately but should be joined to the general case on the journalist’s murder, thereby subjecting it to proper judicial scrutiny. However, the petition was not granted.

The investigation into the other defendants involved in the case is now complete, and the accused parties and their lawyers are now familiarising themselves with the case files. The period of investigation has been extended until 7th March 2013, by which point it is expected that the familiarisation process will be complete, and the case will then be handed over to the court for its merits to be assessed. In addition to Pavliuchenkov there are five suspects in the case - Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, Lom-Ali Gaitukaev, and the brothers Rustam, Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov.

According to the investigation’s version of events, the crime was organised by Gaitukaev, who set up a criminal gang in 2006, of which Pavliuchenkov was also a member. Gaitukaev promised to waive an old debt of $60,000 and to pay him another $20,000. The investigators believe that Khadzhikurbanov had control over all of the group’s actions. The brothers Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov kept Politkovskaya under surveillance and passed information regarding her movements to Rustam, who the investigation believes was the actual perpetrator.

The Makhmudov brothers and Khadzhikurbanov were previously acquitted of the crimes. In June 2009 the Supreme Court quashed the ‘not guilty’ verdict, and the case was returned for additional investigation.
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