Russia’s law enforcement is being shorn of its Soviet roots but the courts still remain in shambles. “Telephone law” is still a common practice in Russia despite constitutional guarantees of judicial independence, especially in politically sensitive cases.
True organizer of Politkovskayas murder has been apprehended
He is a former colonel
Today it came to our attention that retired police lieutenant colonel Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov has been detained in the murder investigation of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Pavlyuchenkov is the former chief of department 4 of the Operational Search Directorate for the Interior Ministry in the city of Moscow.
According to sources in law enforcement, we know that he is to be charged with the October 7th, 2006, murder. According to the information available to Novaya Gazeta, Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov is suspected of accepting the contract for the murder of Anna Politkovskaya while he was still an active officer of a secret police unit. In connection with this, he formed a criminal group that assigned tasks among its members, organized illegal surveillance of the journalist, and equipped the assigned killer with a pistol and silencer.
Investigating authorities recently went to court seeking the arrest of Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov. He is now in a detention center in Moscow.
Pavlyuchenkovs name came up during the first trial for the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. Recall that back then in the dock before the Moscow military district court was a former anti-organized crime police unit officer by the name of Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, as well as Gabriel and Ibrahim Makhmudov, who, according to investigators, followed the journalist and brought the killer a ride to the scene. The investigators named Rustam Makhmudov as the murderer. He was for a long time on the federal wanted list and living under an assumed name, but was arrested this year during a special operation in Chechnya. Interestingly enough, serving as the prosecutions secret witness during the first murder trial was Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov.
Novaya Gazeta discovered that Pavlyuchenkov at the time attempted to confuse investigators about his involvement in the murder. He tried to be useful as a valuable source of information, and stated that he only found out about the crime from the defendants. It was due to Pavlyuchenkovs testimony that a criminal case was initiated against Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, his former friend. Pavlyuchenkov accused him of extorting large sums of money, and that criminal case ended in a conviction. Perhaps the extortion was related to the murder?
Suspicions about the witness being involved in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya arose immediately, but at the time there was no substantial evidence. Today it has become known to Novaya Gazeta that investigators have sufficient evidence to incriminate Pavlyuchenkov, including some that was obtained with the help of Novaya Gazeta journalists who performed their own journalistic investigation, as well as from lawyers for the victims family.
We were unable to receive any official comment or confirmation on the detention of Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov from members of the investigative group. Officers from the Russian Investigative Committee declined due to the secrecy of the ongoing investigation.
In Novaya Gazeta