MOSCOW, October 11 - RAPSI. Former Interior Ministry officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, who is charged with planning the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, has filed a motion for the court to withdraw the plea bargain agreement with his accomplice, Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, lawyer Alexei Mikhalchik told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com) on Thursday.
October 7 was the sixth anniversary of Politkovskaya's tragic death. She was killed in the elevator of her own building in Moscow. Politkovskaya was well known for her investigations into human rights abuses in Chechnya and investigators believe her murder was connected to her professional activity.
Six people are suspected of involvement 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 have been the killer.
On Thursday, Khadzhikurbanov's attorneys filed a motion to withdraw Pavlyuchenkov's plea bargain based on Pavlyuchenkov's failure to abide by the agreement's terms, said the attorney.
The case against Pavlyuchekov has been granted special circumstance status in view of his plea bargain. The special procedure ensures a trial without an evidentiary review or witness testimony, and the court cannot sentence the defendant to the maximum punishment. Pavlyuchenkov's house arrest will last until November.
The withdrawal motion notes that Pavlyuchenkov's testimony is controversial in terms of his client's role and has not been proven by facts.
The Pavlyuchenkov is now reviewing the case. It will likely reach the Moscow City Court as early as next month, unless the plea bargain is withdrawn, the lawyer estimates.
The children of Anna Politkovskaya have also filed a motion to withdraw the plea bargain agreement with Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov. Ilya and Vera Politkovsky do not doubt Pavlyuchenkov's testimony about his alleged accomplice's part in the murder, as there is other evidence to support this allegation. They believe that he is trying to play down his role to escape a more severe punishment.