Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, sentenced in 2014 to 20 years in a penal colony for his involvement in the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, was pardoned. According to his lawyer, the former Moscow police officer is currently taking part in the war in Ukraine.
Sergei Khadzhikurbanov is one of five men convicted in connection with the murder of independent journalist “Nova Gazeta” Anna Politkovskaya. In June 2014, he was sentenced to 20 years in a penal colony as the organizer of this murder. However, as the latest reports indicate, it is now free.
In a statement to the government news agency TASS on Tuesday, Khadzhikurbanov’s lawyer Alexei Mikhalchik announced that Khadzhikurbanov initially participated in war in Ukraine “as a prisoner”. – After the contract expired, he was pardoned by the president Russia – added. – Currently, he is taking part in a special military operation (the propaganda term for the war in Ukraine – ed.) as a mercenary because he signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense, Mikhalchik said, adding that his principal now holds a “command position” in the army.
Sergei Khadzhikurbanov pardoned
According to the findings of the Baza channel on Telegram, Khadzhikurbanov agreed to take part in armed aggression against Ukraine in exchange for early release at the end of 2022. He was to start his service as the commander of an intelligence unit. However, in a short time he was to be promoted to battalion commander. After serving six months and being pardoned, he signed a new contract with the army, now as a mercenary. The length and terms of the contract remain unknown. It is also not known where exactly and in what unit the Russian is stationed.
In response to reports of a pardon by Vladimir Putin Politkovskaya’s Khajikurban family and Novaya Gazeta issued a joint statement. “This is a monstrous, arbitrary injustice, a desecration of the memory of a person killed for his beliefs and professional duties,” it stated.
The murder of Anna Politkovskaya
Anna Politkovskaya, a valued commentator of the independent “Nova Gazeta” and an open critic of Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian policy, was shot dead in the stairwell of her apartment building in central Moscow on October 7, 2006. The killer entered the elevator with her. He shot her four times.
The journalist previously gained worldwide recognition thanks to her shocking reports from the war in Chechnya, in which she wrote about the tragic fate of the inhabitants of this Caucasian republic conquered by Russia. She paid particular attention to breaking human rights in this region. She openly accused the forces of the Russian Federation of crimes against the civilian population. For these materials, in 1999 and 2000 she received the highest awards of the Union of Journalists of Russia – “Golden Pen of Russia” and “Good Deed – Good Heart”. She was also the winner of many international awards. In 2003, she was awarded the OSCE Journalism Award “for her courageous and professional work in support of human rights and press freedom.” Politkovskaya was also the author of books, including “Putin’s Russia” (2005) and “The Second Chechen War” (2006).
The Russian Investigative Committee accused Lom-Ali Gaitukayev from Chechnya of organizing Politkovskaya’s murder. According to the Committee, he created a criminal group for this purpose, which included the Makhmudov brothers, also from Chechnya: Ibrahim, Jabrail and Rustam, as well as former militia officers Sergei Khadzhikurbanov and Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov.
By the judgment of the court in Moscow from June 2014 Rustam Makhmudov and Lom-Ali Gaitukayev were sentenced to life imprisonment. The first of them was considered the direct perpetrator of the crime, while the second was considered its organizer. Gaitukayev died in 2017. Khadzhikurbanov, also considered the organizer of the murder, was sentenced to 20 years in a penal colony. The other two convicts, Jabrail and Ibrahim Makhmudov, received sentences of 14 and 12 years in the labor camp, respectively. The perpetrators of the murder have not yet been discovered.
BBC, PAP, TASS, RBC, TVN24.pl
Main photo source: MAXIM SHIPENKOV/PAP/EPA