One of those convicted of Politkovskaya's murder pardoned after fighting in Ukraine

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Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, convicted of the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006, had to remain in prison until 2034. But fighting in Ukraine has earned him a pardon from the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin. This Tuesday the Russian media learned that he had been released in advance.

The information has been confirmed by his lawyer, Alexei Mijálchik, who added that he has also signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense to remain linked to the Russian Armed Forces and, according to which, he continues to participate in the "special military operation", name officially given in Russia to the conflict that began after Putin ordered tanks and troops to enter the neighboring country in February 2022.

Contracts with Defense

Tens of thousands of Russian inmates have signed similar contracts with the Army or mercenary formations, the best known of which is the Wagner Group.

Jadzhijurbanov, a former police officer specializing in the fight against organized crime, joined the war zone at the end of 2022, Baza, a Telegram news channel, published.

Due to his experience, he began his service as commander of the Intelligence Department and was later promoted to battalion commander.

After six months of service, he decided to extend his contract with Defense and was exonerated from serving his sentence, the media reported.

Investigation and denunciation of human rights abuses in Chechnya

Sergei Khadzhikurbanov was arrested in 2007 on charges of participating in the organization of Politkovskaya's murder. Two years later a jury found him innocent. But then the trial was ordered to be repeated. He was found guilty of extortion and was again accused of participating in the attack against the journalist of the independent newspaper Nóvaya Gazeta. A court found him guilty in 2014 and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

Anna Politkovskaya was 48 years old in 2006. On October 7, the last day of her life, she returned home, located in an apartment building in the center of Moscow, after making several purchases. A gunman shot her in the lobby, near the elevator.

The journalist had achieved international fame for her denunciatory and investigative articles, in which she criticized the corruption of officials and human rights abuses, especially in Chechnya, the Russian Caucasus region that suffered two bitter wars in the years after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Convicted in 2014

In June 2014, a Moscow court handed down a sentence against the hitman and those who had helped him, including Khadzhikurbanov.

The judge ordered life imprisonment for the Chechen gunman Rustam Makhmudov, convicted of pulling the trigger, and for his uncle Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, who was in charge of all the logistics for a typical and gritty contract murder. The latter died in prison in 2017.

The judge sentenced Majmudov's brothers, Ibraguim and Dzhabraíl, to 12 and 14 years in prison in a high-security prison. According to the accusation, his mission in this plot was to follow and monitor the journalist's movements, as well as notify her brother of her arrival at the house.

It remains unknown who commissioned the crime.

Despite these sentences, to this day it remains unknown who commissioned and paid for the ruthless crime, a common complaint in Russia from families and human rights associations in this type of murder.

The news of Jadzhikurbanov's pardon comes days after the pardon of a former Wagner Group combatant, Vladislav Kanyus, 25, who was convicted last summer of savagely killing his ex-girlfriend in 2020.

Activist Aliona Popova posted a letter a week ago on Telegram from the Russian Prosecutor General's office stating that he had been pardoned and his conviction annulled under a presidential decree of April 27 of this year.

Stabbed 56 times and strangled

On June 28, 2022, a court in the city of Kemerovo, Siberia, sentenced Kanyus to 17 years in prison in a maximum security prison for having brutally killed his ex-girlfriend, Vera Péjteleva, in January 2020. As demonstrated In court, the 23-year-old woman went to Kanyus' apartment to collect her belongings. But when he found out that he was in a new relationship, he didn't let her go. He killed her with 56 stab wounds and then strangled her with the cord of the iron.

According to Popova, authorities at the prison where he was serving his sentence transferred Kanyus to Rostov Oblast, a Russian region bordering Ukraine, after Péjteleva's mother discovered photographs of the man dressed in military uniform and holding a gun.

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