Thu, Aug 30, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Chechen brothers arrested in murder of Politkovskaya


Three Chechen brothers arrested in the killing of investigative journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya had nothing to do with her death, a lawyer for one of them said on Tuesday and accused police of hitting his client over the head with a bottle and threatening to cause him further harm if he refused to confess.

The brothers were among 10 suspects whose arrests were announced on Monday by Russia's chief prosecutor, who said the Oct. 7 shooting was organized by a Chechen native who led a Moscow criminal group that specialized in contract killings.

The suspects included a police major and a Federal Security Service officer, as well as three former police officers, who were accused of tracking Politkovskaya and providing her killers with information.

The arrests appeared to confirm long-standing suspicions of collusion between police officers and members of organized crime groups in Moscow.

Dzhabrail Makhmudov, a 25-year-old lawyer, his brothers Ibragim and Tamerlan, and one other suspect have all been charged with complicity in the murder, lawyer Murad Musayev said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

Musyaev said that Dzhabrail Makhmudov was hit with a bottle by police during interrogation and reminded that his brothers were in the next room -- a statement that put pressure on him by apparently threatening his brothers with injury.

The Prosecutor General's Office would not say whether any charges had been filed or comment on the lawyer's statement.

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