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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 September 2007, 01:11 GMT 02:11 UK
Charges in journalist murder case
Anna Politkovskaya
Politkovskaya's reports exposed alleged abuses of power by officials
Prosecutors in Russia have charged a former Chechen politician with being an accomplice in the 2006 murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Lawyers for Shamil Burayev, who ran unsuccessfully for the Chechen presidency, say he will fight to clear his name.

In August 10 suspects in the case were arrested but two were later released.

Ms Politkovskaya won fame by exposing atrocities against Chechen civilians by Russian-backed security forces.

Mr Burayev, who was detained by police last week in Moscow, was charged with "complicity in murder as an accomplice" by Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, defence lawyer Pyotr Kazakov told the Associated Press news agency.

"Burayev said he has nothing to do with this crime. This is his clear position, and he is determined to prove it and to defend his honest name," Mr Kazakov told Interfax agency.

Mr Burayev is a former regional chief in Chechnya who ran unsuccessfully for the presidency of the southern Russian province in 2003 against Akhmad Kadyrov, father of the current incumbent.

'Chechen gang'

Last month, chief prosecutor Yuri Chaika said 10 suspects - including serving and former security officers - had been arrested in the investigation.

Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika (left) meeting President Vladimir Putin
The chief prosecutor was shown briefing President Putin on the case

Their ringleader was a Chechen gang boss, he said.

At least two suspects have since been released.

But he said there were indications that the murder plot had been masterminded abroad, by people interested in destabilising Russia.

Ms Politkovskaya was a strong critic of President Vladimir Putin - especially his military campaign in Chechnya.

She was shot dead near her Moscow apartment last October.


SEE ALSO
New team for Politkovskaya case
04 Sep 07 |  Europe

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