Anna Politkovskaya was not forgotten by the Moscow City Court on Monday. Two of the five men convicted of the internationally known and controversial murder of Politkovskaya in 2006 were given life sentences, while the other three were given lengthy prison terms to be carried out in a maximum security prison.
Anna Politkovskaya was an outspoken journalist who uncovered Kremlin corruption and violations of human rights, mainly in Chechnya. Anna was viciously gunned down in the lobby of her apartment block on Vladimir Putin‘s 54th birthday, October 7, 2006. Although Anna’s death was one of more than 20 journalists who were murdered in Russia since 2000, Politkovskaya’s murder gained international attention due to the horrible contract-style killing ordered from an unknown person or persons.
The convicted gunman, Rustam Makhmudov, was sentenced to a life term along with his uncle, Lom-Ali Gaitukayev. Gaitukayev was found guilty of putting together a plan of action in Politkovskaya’s murder for a still unknown client, according to The Moscow Times. A separate case has been instigated because of the unknown person or persons behind Anna’s murder, according to the Investigative Committee spokesperson, Vladimir Markin.
A statement released by the Investigative Committee said that it was “precisely Gaitukayev who organized the group made up of the other convicts” and that Gaitukayev “controlled the actions of the participants by phone.”
Makhmudov’s two brothers were also involved in the crime that ended Anna Politkovskaya’s life. Ibragim and Dzhabrail were sentenced to 12 and 14 years respectively for working to shadow Politkovskaya, according to MailOnline. Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a former Moscow policeman, was given a 20 year sentence as an accomplice in Anna Politkovskaya’s murder.
The five convicted men were ordered to pay 5 million roubles ($145,400) to Anna Politkovskaya’s two adult children.
Interestingly, all five men were acquitted of the Politkovskaya murder in 2009, but the Supreme Court ordered the case to be reopened. Murad Musayev, a lawyer for the brothers Makhmudov, plans to appeal on behalf of his clients, but he has already stated on Facebook that the hearing was “just a formality: the sentence, as we all understand, was already decided long ago.”
Anna’s son, Ilya Politkovsky, said after the sentencing, “For us, the most important thing is to find the person who ordered the killing.”
A human rights campaigner who worked with Anna Politkovskaya believes that higher political powers have a lot to do with her death. Lev Ponomaryov stated, “I am sure the name behind the murder will not be revealed under the current political regime. If the order came from the ruling elite’s senior members, nobody will risk speaking because they know for sure that would cost their life.”
The Novaya Gazeta newspaper that Anna Politkovskaya worked for is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding her death independently.