Sergueï Khadjikourbanov, a former Russian police officer convicted of à twenty years in prison for his role in the assassination of journalist Anna Politkovskaïa in 2006, was sentenced to twenty years in prison for his role in the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaïa in 2006, pardon by Vladimir Putin for joining Russian forces in Ukraine, said Tuesday his lawyer at the AFP.
The death of the journalist, shot dead in Moscow on October 7, 2006, the day of the Russian president's birthday, is one of the most resounding murders of the Putin era, at the helm of Russia since 2000 and who saw many of his detractors assassinated.
Alexeï Mikhaltchik, Mr. Khadjikourbanov's lawyer, told AFP that his client had joined the Russian forces engaged in Ukraine from 2022, which earned him a presidential pardon.
“He was offered a contract to participate. He did it and when the contract ended he was pardoned by decree of the president,” said the lawyer, saying that his client's family urged him to do so. had informed.
“It is a monstrous arbitrary injustice, a desecration of the memory of a person killed for his convictions and the fulfillment of his professional duty”, noted in a press release the family of Ms. Politkovskaïa and the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, his former employer.
The pardon granted by Vladimir Putin is in no way “proof of the murderer's atonement and remorse”, they continue.
Christophe Deloire, secretary general of the NGO Reporters Without Borders ( RSF), castigated on X (ex-Twitter) the Russian president's “cynicism.” contract due to his experience in a Russian special forces unit.
Mr. Mikhalchik initially revealed the information to Russian media outlets Baza and RBK.
– “Atonement for his crimes” –
Tens of thousands of Russian detainees have signed such contracts with paramilitary groups like the Wagner Group.
These men often served in the most dangerous sectors of the front and, by the admission of Wagner's late boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, were used as cannon fodder. But the survivors found their freedom.
This policy is publicly endorsed by the Kremlin. “Those convicted, including for serious crimes, atone for their crime with blood on the battlefield,” Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, declared on Friday.
< /p> CCTV image showing Anna Politkovskaya a few seconds before her assassination in Moscow on October 7, 2006 © NTV – NTV
Sergei Khadzhikurbanov is still serving on the Ukrainian front, according to his council.
“In 2023, he signed a new contract as a volunteer and now fights in command functions”, continued the lawyer, who said he was “convinced of the innocence” of his client in the Politkovskaya affair.
World-renowned investigative journalist, specialist in crimes committed by the authorities in Chechnya and critic of Mr. Putin, Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in the lobby of her building in Moscow.
The sponsors of the crime do not have never been identified, even if many opponents of the Kremlin and the regime it put in place in Chechnya consider that Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of this region of the Caucasus, is the No. 1 suspect. The person concerned has always denied it.
– Serial murders –
It took several trials, acquittals and then convictions for those carrying out the assassination to be convicted. Among them, Mr. Khadjikourbanov.
The logistical organizer of the assassination, Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, died in prison in 2017. His nephew Rustam Makhmudov was found guilty of killing the journalist, and is serving a life sentence.
Anna Politkovskaya, who worked for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, is one of the many figures critical of Vladimir Putin's Russia to have been assassinated without these crimes ever being clarified.
Improvised memorial, February 27, 2023 on the Moscow bridge, opposite the Kremlin, where the opponent Boris Nemtsov was assassinated on February 27, 2015 © AFP – Alexander NEMENOV
Among the others victims, the opponent Boris Nemtsov, the journalist Paul Klebnikov, the human rights activist Natalia Estemirova or the lawyer Stanislav Markelov.
The number one detractor of the Kremlin, Alexeï Navalny survived a poisoning in 2020 and is serving a long prison sentence, a sentence that the person concerned and the West describe as political.
After its assault on Ukraine, Russia launched a vast campaign of repression of all voices, famous or anonymous, denouncing its responsibility in this conflict.
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