Following our earlier reporting, today The Guardian has a comprehensive look at the semi-farce that was the Anna Politkovskaya murder trial, which ended in a not guilty verdict today for the three men accused of the murder.
From The Guardian:
“From the very beginning the…trial has been chaotic, confused and even farcical. The judge has often seemed bored, frequently scratching his head. The evidence, much of it contradictory, has bamboozled the jury. The defendants, meanwhile, sitting together in a metal cage, have passed the time arguing, grumbling from behind their bars and doing word-search puzzles.
According to prosecutors, the defendants were part of a loosely knit criminal gang that organised her murder. But looming over the trial like a giant black hole is the fact that detectives have been unable to catch Politkovskaya’s alleged killer: a third Makhmudov brother, Rustam. He has fled abroad, detectives suggest.
Investigators have also been unable to identify the mysterious person who ordered Politkovskaya’s assassination. The name of the key player in the conspiracy – known in Russian as the zakazshik – has apparently eluded detectives, sparking suspicion that the person could be a senior figure in Russian politics.
Could the zakazshik have been a top Kremlin leader? Or is it, as many suspect, Ramzan Kadyrov, the young, thuggish, pro-Kremlin Chechen president who was a frequent target of Politkovskaya’s numerous articles from Chechnya? At the time of Politkovskaya’s death Kadyrov denied involvement, declaring: “I don’t kill women.”