[JURIST] Russian investigators on Monday announced that they have formally charged ex-police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov with the 2006 murder [JURIST report] of journalist Anna Politkovskaya [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. Pavlyuchenkov, who was a lieutenant colonel at the time of the murder, was arrested [JURIST report] in August and is suspected of arranging Politkovskaya's murder, tracking her movements and hiring three Chechen men who have also been implicated in the case. Six men are currently indicted [AP report] for Politkovskaya's murder.
A human rights activist and critic of the Kremlin, Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in an elevator of her apartment building in Moscow as she was returning home. Politkovskaya investigated human rights abuses in Chechnya and high-level corruption across Russia, and her death raised concerns about the safety of journalists and other critics of the government. Because she was a critic of Russian governmental policies, it was widely speculated at the time of her murder that the Russian government was involved. At the time she was working for the low-circulation independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta [official website, in Russian] where she was writing reports on Chechnya. Her death was widely believed to be a contract killing. Russia's Federal Security Service charged Rustam Makhmudov for the murder [JURIST report] in June 2011. Two of Makhmudov's brothers and a former police officer are currently awaiting trial for the murder in Moscow. A district court acquitted those three men in February 2009 due to a lack of prosecutorial evidence, but the Russian Supreme Court vacated the acquittal and ordered a reinvestigation of the case [JURIST reports].