MOSCOW – Among the many Russian prisoners who were pardoned after a period spent at the front in Ukraine is Sergej Khadzhikurbanov, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder Anna Politkovskaya.
The journalist was killed in the lobby of her house on October 7, 2006, on the Kremlin leader’s birthday, in one of the most sensational murders of that era. Putin.
The news was confirmed by his lawyer Aleksey Mikhalchik, and was reported by various Russian government media.
“Victims’ rights are systematically ignored. As in all more egregious cases, the opinion of the injured person was ignored,” commented Dmitry Muratov, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and director Novaya Gazetathe newspaper for which Politkovskaya wrote letters from Chechnya that cost her her life.
It took several trials, acquittals and then convictions for the perpetrators of the assassination to be convicted. Among them is Khadzhikurbanov, a former investigative officer of the Department for Combating Organized Crime. The logistical organizer of the ambush, Lom-Ali Gajtukaev, died in prison in 2017, while his nephew Rustam Makhmudov was found guilty of murdering the journalist and is serving a life sentence.
The instigators of the crime, however, were never discovered; many opponents believe it is Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who has always denied it.
My mother, Anna Politkovskaya: an interview with Vera, the daughter of a cult journalist killed in Russia, who is now writing a book about her
our correspondent Rosalba Castelletti
As if that wasn’t enough, Khadzhikurbanov – who was due to serve his sentence until 2030 – was pardoned after joining the fighting in Ukraine in late 2022. The six months of front-line service that prisoners normally serve before they can be pardoned were enough for him to progress in rank: now commanding a battalion and still serving on the Ukrainian front.
“He worked in special forces in the 90s and has experience. Which is probably why he was immediately offered a command post. In 2023, he signed a new contract as a volunteer,” the lawyer said, saying he was “convinced of his client’s innocence” in the Politkovskaya case.
“For a prisoner to become a battalion commander in a few months from a team commander – the Base source commented – he really has to be Rambo”.