MOSCOW, February 1 - RAPSI. The Moscow City Court will hear on February 5 the request to extend the arrest of a former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov accused of murdering journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya, defense attorney Alexei Mikhalchik said on Friday.

The court was scheduled to consider extending Khadzhikurbanov's arrest on Friday, he said. However, his attorneys asked the court to adjourn the hearing until after February 4 when the court will hear the appeal against his arrest. The court granted the request.

The Basmanny District Court in Moscow sanctioned Khadzhikurbanov's arrest in early December, Mikhalchik said. The suspect was delivered to a Moscow pretrial detention from a prison where he was serving time for another crime. His attorneys won an appeal against the district court's ruling. The case was sent back for review, but the court once again upheld the investigators request. The investigation into Politkovsksya's death has been extended until March 7.

Politkovskaya, a journalist for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, was shot dead in her apartment building on October 7, 2006.  Her murder is linked by some experts to her coverage of human rights abuses in Chechnya. She was also a critic of the Kremlin.

Khadzhikurbanov was earlier sentenced to eight years for extorting money from former police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov. On December 14, Pavlyuchenkov was found guilty of being involved in the murder and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

The court also held that Pavlyuchenkov must pay Politkovskaya's children 3 million rubles ($97,660), thus partially satisfying their request for 10 million ($352,530). Pavlyuchenkov claims to have run surveillance on Politkovskaya before her murder. He paid his subordinates in the police department where he worked $100-150 a day to keep an eye on her. The men were not told why they were watching Politkovskaya.

Pavlyuchenkov's attorneys appealed his conviction in the Supreme Court. The appeal will be heard on February 14.