Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 14:42 UK

Politkovskaya suspect 'in Europe'

Anna Politkovskaya (file image)
Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead on her doorstep

The man wanted over the killing of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya is hiding in western Europe, Russia's chief investigator has said.

Ms Politkovskaya, a prominent Kremlin critic, was shot dead outside her home in the capital on 7 October 2006.

Thirty-four-year-old Chechnya resident Rustam Makhmudov is believed to have fired the fatal shot.

Last month, three men - who all come from Chechnya - were charged over Ms Politkovskaya's murder.

Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov - brothers of Mr Makhmudov - and Sergey Khadzhikurbanov are expected to go on trial soon.

Chechen reports

A fourth man, an officer with the country's security service, was also charged in connection with the case last month, for abuse of office.

The head of Russia's Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, did not publicly identify the country where he believes Mr Makhmudov is hiding but said it was known by the Russian authorities.

Unconfirmed Russian media reports suggest that Moscow has requested Mr Makhmudov's extradition from Belgium.

Ms Politkovskaya frequently travelled to Chechnya and the North Caucasus where her dispatches described some of the horror of a war where most of the casualties were civilians.

The murder of Ms Politkovskaya, who wrote for the small-circulation Novaya Gazeta, shocked the international community but did not register widely in Russia.

She was the 13th journalist to be killed in a contract-style killing in Russia during Vladimir Putin's period as president, according to the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Obituary: Anna Politkovskaya
07 Oct 06 |  Europe
Chechen war reporter found dead
07 Oct 06 |  Europe

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