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Russia arrests key suspect in Politkovskaya murder

Reuters/Alexander Natruskin

Russia has arrested the Chechen fugitive suspected of shooting dead journalist Anna Politkovskaya nearly five years ago, officials said on Tuesday.


Rustam Makhmudov is accused of firing a series of bullets into Politkovskaya's body in her apartment building when she returned from shopping on 7 October, 2006.

Makhmudov was arrested on Monday night in Chechnya at the home of his parents,
the family's lawyer, Saidakhmet Arsamerzayev, told the French news agency.

The arrest marks a potential breakthrough after 5 years, during which investigators have been heavily criticised for their failure to convict any suspect or identify the mastermind of the crime.

The bitterly anti-Kremlin reporter had won international prizes for her work for the opposition Novaya Gazeta newspaper, accusing the Russian former president and now prime minister Vladimir Putin of using the Chechen conflict to strangle democracy.

Anna Politkovsky's son, Ilya, said on Monday that even if Makhmudov is convicted for pulling the trigger, it is not likely that the crime's mastermind will ever be found.

"Even if the prosecution established it was him, we will never have the name of the person who ordered the murder," he told AFP. "This question will always remain open."



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