MOSCOW, August 30 - RAPSI. Investigators have extended their probe into journalist Anna Politkovskaya's murder until December 7, the counsel for one of the defendants Alexei Mikhalchik told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/ on Wednesday.

"The investigation has been going for 74 months," he said.

The case of the murder organizer, former police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, has been separated for special proceedings. After he has reviewed the case materials, it will be referred to the court.

The lawyer expects that once the verdict is passed on Pavlyuchenkov and his sentence comes into effect, investigators will declare the completion of their probe into the other suspects.

"I imagine that the investigation will come to a close in October, then we will have to read the case, which includes over 100 files," said Mikhalchik.

Investigators have completed their probe into Pavlyuchenkov's role in plotting the murder. He is expected to be tried under special procedure, as he admitted to the crime and entered into a plea agreement.

The special procedure classification ensures a trial without an evidentiary review or witness testimonies, and the court cannot sentence the defendant to the maximum punishment. Pavlyuchenkov's house arrest will last until November.

Politkovskaya was renowned for her investigative journalism on human rights issues in Chechnya. She was killed in Moscow on October 7, 2006. Investigators believe her murder was related to her work.

Six people are suspects in the case - former police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, Chechen-born Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, former police officer Sergei Kadzhikurbanov and the Makhmudov brothers, one of whom is alleged to be the killer.