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New Politkovskaya trial ordered for August after acquittal rejection

A new trial over the murder of Russian investigative journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya is to begin in Moscow on Aug. 5, the Politkovskaya family lawyer has confirmed.

A man holds a photo of slain journalist Anna Politkovskaya during a rally

Many Russians feel justice has not been done

The fresh preliminary hearings were ordered after Russia's supreme court annulled a Moscow district military court acquittal handed to three men who had been put on trial over Politkovskaya's murder.

Rights groups and the slain journalist's family have condemned the retrial, instead calling for an entirely new investigation into the journalist's murder.

The Politkovskaya family lawyer, Anna Stavitskaya, has said she would demand in the upcoming preliminary hearings that the case be returned to prosecutors so that a new investigation could be carried out.

The military court had ruled in February that brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov were not guilty of being accessories to the murder and also cleared a former police officer, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, of organizing the crime. The brothers had been accused of driving the killer to the scene and the policeman of providing logistical assistance.

A fourth defendant, Pavel Ryaguzov, a secret police agent, was acquitted in a separate trial for allegedly providing the killer with Politkovskaya's address.

The gunman, who actually shot Politkovskaya in the lobby of her central Moscow apartment building on Oct. 7, 2006, has not been apprehended.

Many Russians and rights organizations believe the contract-style killing was politically motivated and connected with her critical reporting on human rights conditions in Chechnya.

News of the new trial comes a week after the killing of human rights activist Natalya Estemirova who, like Politkovskaya, had reported on crimes against civilians in Chechnya.

dfm/AFP/dpa

Editor: Neil King

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