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22.11.2008

Scandal in the Politkovskaya case: the judge may be removed and jury dissolved

   

On Monday Judge Yevgeny Zubov announced unexpectedly that the trial of those accused of involvement in the murder of journalist and human rights defender Anna Politkovskaya would be open to the public.  On Wednesday he reversed this decision, claiming that the jury had refused to appear in front of journalists.

But on Thursday a member of the jury called Moscow radio station Echo Moskvy and denied that any of them had made such a request.  The juror said they had objected to having TV cameras in court, but not text journalists.

Now the judge has suspended the case, saying defence lawyers are too busy - but they, too, are denying that is true.

The Head of the Moscow Bar Lawyers’ Chamber Genrykh Reznyk considers that there is a real chance that the judge could lose his judge’s status.

Judge Zubov is already well-known over the murder trial of those suspected of killing Moscow Komsomolets journalist Dmitry Kholodov.  The judge acquitted all those charged.

Politkovskaya’s supporters believe state security agents were involved in her murder - and for that reason, they say, there will never be a fair and open trial.

Three men are on trial - former policeman Sergey Khadzhikurbanov and two Chechen brothers, Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov. They are, however, only charged with involvement in the plot - not with either carrying out the murder or ordering it.

Based on reports on the BBC and www.newsru.ua

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