Politkovskaya’s family appeals sentence against ex-policeman
MOSCOW, December 24 – RAPSI. Children of murdered Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya have appealed against the sentence for Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, a confessed accomplice in the journalist’s assassination case, attorney Anna Stavitskaya told the Russian Legal Information Agency.
“As we promised right after the sentence was announced, we have appealed against the sentence, as we do not find it just since the punishment does not correspond to the gravity of the committed crime,” Stavitskaya said.
According to the attorney, the application also reads that the applicants were dissatisfied with the fact that the case was granted special circumstance status after Pavlyuchenkov agreed to a plea bargain.
The special procedure ensures a trial without reviewing the evidence or holding witness testimonies. Furthermore, the court cannot sentence the defendant to the maximum punishment.
On December 14, Pavlyuchenkov was found guilty of Politkovskaya’s assassination and sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Also the court held that Pavlyuchenkov must pay the Politkovskaya children three million rubles ($97,660), thus partially satisfying their request for 10 million ($352,530).
Politkovskaya, a journalist for the opposition-minded Novaya Gazeta, was shot and killed in her apartment building on October 7, 2006. Her murder is believed to be linked to her groundbreaking coverage of human rights abuses in Chechnya. She was a passionate critic of the Kremlin as well.
In total, six people are suspected of involvement in the murder. The other five suspects are in custody and will be tried separately. Lom-Ali Gaitukayev is accused of having organized the murder, and of having hired three of his relatives to help him: the Makhmudov brothers Rustam, Ibragim and Dzhabrail, and another former police official, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov.
Pavlyuchenkov claims to have run surveillance on Anna Politkovskaya leading up to her murder. He paid subordinates of his in the police department where he used to work between $100-150 a day to keep an eye on her. These men were not told why they were watching Politkovskaya.