Pavlyuchenkov charged with complicity in Politkovskaya murder

A criminal case against former Moscow police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, charged with complicity in the murder of reporter Anna Politkovskaya, could be heard in a special court procedure due to a pre-trial accommodation, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said.

"Investigators are planning to separate the criminal case against Pavlyuchenkov and subsequently send it to a court for hearing in a special procedure due to a pre-trial agreement on cooperation reached earlier with the accused," Markin told Interfax on Monday.

Investigators have now clearly identified Pavlyuchenkov's role in the murder of the Novaya Gazeta reporter "and issued a final indictment against him over a murder of a person in relation to their professional activities, committed by a group of persons, and illicit arms trafficking," Markin said.

According to the inquiry, in 2006 Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, "have received an order to kill Politkovskaya from a person unhappy about the reporter's articles exposing human rights violations, embezzlement of public assets and abuse of office by officials, set up a criminal group of six accomplices, to which he had invited Pavlyuchenkov," Markin said.

"According to the distribution of roles, in July-September 2006, Pavlyuchenkov identified the victim's actual residence address in Moscow, itineraries of her movements and reported these data to other members of the organized group. He also acquired a weapon and ammunition, which subsequently became the murder weapon," the Investigative Committee spokesman said.

"While collecting data on Politkovskaya, Pavlyuchenkov got all his police subordinates, who had professional skills in secret surveillance, to spy on her, without informing them of criminal intentions," Markin said.

"For several days in October 2006, members of the criminal group would drive to Politkovskaya's residence address where they had planned the role for everyone, and practice their actions. They set the day and time of the murder and planned ways of getting away from the scene of crime. On October 7, 2006, the murderer, carrying a pistol he received from Pavlyuchenkov, walked into the entrance number two at the house number 8/12 in Lesnaya street," Markin said.

When Politkovskaya entered the lift at around 4 p.m., the killer fired five shots from the pistol, causing her fatal injuries, he recalled.

"The contribution by each member of this organized group in Politkovskaya's murder ranged by volume of the action performed, but in aggregate and eventually it did lead to attainment of the common criminal goal," the official said.

The criminal group was "characterized by steadiness and close knittedness thanks to the long-term acquaintance and large number of group members, clear distribution of roles among them, the shared criminal intent, thorough conspiracy, planning and preparation for the commission of the crime," Markin said.

"Each group member has now been charged with killing Politkovskaya regardless of their role in this crime," he said.

It is believed that the crime was perpetrated by Rustam Makhmudov. On May 31, 2011, he was arrested in Chechnya and brought to Moscow for questioning. He has been charged with homicide, illicit arms trafficking, kidnapping and extortion. Former Police Lt. Col. Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov was arrested in August on suspicion of organizing the murder.

Makhmudov will remain in custody until August 31, 2012.

Pavlyuchenkov testified that the masterminds behind this crime were businessman Boris Berezovsky and Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev. In late May 2012, Pavlyuchenkov was placed under house arrest.

Since Pavlyuchenkov made a confession and has cooperated with investigators, his case will be heard in separate proceedings. Pavlyuchenkov claims that he became an involuntary accomplice in the crime and "did not know who he was spying on, did not think he was doing that because the murder of Politkovskaya was being plotted."

Lawyers for other defendants in the case insist that Pavlyuchenkov's testimonies are false.

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