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Man Convicted in Russian Journalist’s Murder Is Pardoned After Serving in Ukraine

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Man Convicted in Russian Journalist’s Murder Is Pardoned After Serving in Ukraine

President Vladimir V. Putin has pardoned one of many convicted organizers of the homicide of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya in return for his service in Ukraine, his lawyer mentioned on Tuesday, the newest in a sequence of such reprieves for high-profile criminals in Russia.

Sergei G. Khadzhikurbanov, a former legislation enforcement officer who was sentenced in 2014 to twenty years in jail over the killing of Ms. Politkovskaya in 2006, was pardoned in a decree issued by Mr. Putin, his lawyer, Aleksei V. Mikhalchik, mentioned in a cellphone interview.

Ms. Politkovskaya, who turned one in every of Russia’s most acclaimed journalists because of her uncompromising reviews of human rights abuses in the course of the nation’s wars in Chechnya that erupted within the Nineties, was shot useless within the elevator of her residence constructing in central Moscow. Her homicide prompted shock waves in Russia and overseas because it highlighted the rising risks of anti-Kremlin reporting within the nation.

The news of Mr. Khadzhikurbanov’s pardon was first reported by Baza, a Russian news outlet, and RBC, a Russian enterprise day by day. Mr. Mikhalchik mentioned that he didn’t know when the decree had been signed. Activists mentioned this yr that the Russian authorities had began a mass marketing campaign to pardon convicts in return for preventing in Ukraine.

The pardon of Mr. Khadzhikurbanov follows a sequence of comparable choices by Russia that highlights how the Kremlin is prepared to launch convicted criminals, together with murderers and rapists, so long as they assist the conflict effort in Ukraine.

Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, on Friday defended the observe. “They are atoning with blood in storm brigades, under bullets and under shells,” he informed reporters, referring to the criminals.

Last week, Alyona V. Popova, a Russian rights activist who has been finding out comparable instances, reported {that a} man who had been sentenced to 17 years in jail for murdering his girlfriend was pardoned in April due to his army service in Ukraine.

The investigation of Ms. Politkovskaya’s homicide took years to finish and was marred by conflicting testimonies and retrials. Apart from Mr. Khadzhikurbanov, 4 different males had been discovered responsible of organizing and executing the homicide, receiving sentences from 12 years to life in jail. But the query of who ordered the killing stays unsolved.

In 2018, the European Court of Human Rights dominated that regardless of convicting “a group of men who had directly carried out the contract killing” the Russian state had “failed to take adequate investigatory steps to find the person or persons who had commissioned the murder.”

Mr. Khadzhikurbanov was acquitted by a jury in 2009, however he was convicted and sentenced after a second trial. Mr. Mikhalchik, his lawyer, welcomed the news of the pardon as a result of he mentioned he believed that his shopper was harmless.

“A juridical mistake has been righted,” Mr. Mikhalchik mentioned in a cellphone interview.

Mr. Mikhalchik famous that Mr. Khadzhikurbanov had been recruited at a jail in southern Russia to serve in military formations in Ukraine shortly after the invasion in 2022.

Mr. Khadzhikurbanov’s expertise in particular police items helped him throughout his service, Mr. Mikhalchik mentioned. After serving out the primary contract signed in jail, Mr. Khadzhikurbanov signed one other one as a volunteer, his lawyer mentioned, including that his shopper was almost definitely at present engaged in preventing on the entrance line and due to this fact couldn’t be contacted.

Rights activists say that the observe of pardoning convicted criminals for serving in Ukraine might have a flamable impact on Russian society.

“It turns out that in order to remain unpunished you need to kill as many people as possible,” Ms. Popova, the rights activist, mentioned in a cellphone interview. “It is a completely inverted pyramid.”

Source web site: www.nytimes.com