Judge to stay on in Politkovskaya murder trial

27th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

Proceedings have had a confused start in trial of slain reporter Politkovskaya, gunned down in a contract killing in front of her Moscow flat in 2006.

Moscow -- A controversial judge in the trial of three men charged with murdering investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya will stay on after the Moscow Military Court rejected prosecutors demands to dismiss him for bias.

Court spokesman Alexander Minchanovsky called the accusations against Judge Evgeny Zubov "baseless" and said the trial would resume with him.

Proceedings have had a confused start in trial of slain reporter Politkovskaya, gunned down in a contract killing in front of her Moscow flat in 2006.

On Tuesday, prosecutors requested new judged after a u-turn on his decision of whether to allow public and media access to the hearings.

Zubov original ruling to bar the press from the courtroom last week drew protests both lawyers for the defense and Politkovskaya's family and at least one juror.

The juror, Evgeny Kolesov, was disbarred from the proceedings after he publicly challenged Zubov's initial decision to hold a closed trial.

On air on Russian radio station Ekho Moskvye, he denied the judge's claim that he was acting on the jury's request to bar media from the courtroom.

Politkovskaya's family and colleagues have been suspect and sharply critical of the trial from the get go, saying the defendants are only loosely tied to the murder.

None of the four-men being tried in connection with the case are the suspected triggerman or man guilty of ordering her killing.

Defense lawyer Murad Musayev said Tuesday evidence in the trial indicated the mastermind of Politkovskaya's murder was a Russian politician still based inside the country.

The award-winning journalist for daily Novaya Gazeta reported on alleged human rights abuses by the Kremlin during two wars in Chechnya in the early 1990s.

DPA/Expatica

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