Russia: Convicted killer of Putin’s critic pardoned after fighting against Ukraine

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Moscow [Russia] November 14: Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a convicted killer of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, was pardoned by President Vladimir Putin after he fought for the Russian army in Ukraine.
Investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s wars in Chechnya, was shot dead on October 7, 2006, at the entrance of her apartment in central Moscow. She was 48 years old.
Khadzhikurbanov, a former police officer, was handed a 20-year prison sentence nearly a decade ago for his involvement in Politkovskaya’s killing, an investigative journalist who covered stories for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
“Khadzhikurbanov participated in [Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine] as a prisoner under his first contract,” RBC quoted Khadzhikurbanov lawyer Alexei Mikhalchik as saying.
“He was then pardoned and now participates in [Russia’s campaign in Ukraine] as a freelance military man having signed a contract with the Defense Ministry,” Mikhalchik added.
However, Khadzhikurbanov’s lawyer did not specify when his client signed up for the war and received the presidential pardon, Moscow Times reported.
Russia’s Defense Ministry and the private military outfit Wagner began recruiting prisoners to fight in Ukraine last summer amid a manpower shortage on the front line.
In 2014, a court sentenced two men to life in prison over Politkovskaya’s killing and handed lengthy prison terms to three others involved, including Khadzhikurbanov.
The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Russia for failing to take adequate steps to find those who ordered Politkovskaya’s murder.

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