New York, June 9, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists said it is encouraged by today's progress in solving the 2006 slaying of prominent independent journalist Anna Politkovskaya, but noted that the mastermind still walks free. A Moscow court sentenced five defendants to lengthy prison sentences for carrying out the murder almost eight years ago.
"We welcome the sentencing of the organizer, gunman, and three accomplices in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, but true justice can only be achieved when the masterminds of the crime are identified, prosecuted, and punished," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "We urge Russian investigative authorities not to rest until the key culprits are in the dock, answering for this brutal crime."
A Moscow City Court sentenced Rustam Makhmudov, the convicted gunman, and Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, the organizer of the crime, to life terms in prison. Two other Makhmudov brothers, Dzhabrail and Ibragim, convicted as the gunman's driver and lookout, received 14- and 12-year terms in jail, respectively. Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a former police officer with the Moscow Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and an accomplice in the murder, received 20 years in prison. The defense said it would appeal.
Russia ranks 10th on CPJ's Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and killers go free.