MOSCOW, March 13 - RAPSI. Former policeman Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for involvement in the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, has asked the court to hear his appeal in his absence and also to grant him state protection in the pretrial detention ward, Kommersant newspaper writes on Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, Pavlyuchenkov has sent a letter to the Supreme Court's appeals board asking the court to hear his appeal in his absence due to health reasons.

Pavlyuchenkov supports the commutation request filed by his defense attorney Karen Nersesyan and has put forward his own arguments for his release.

He claims that he did his utmost to prevent Politkovskayas murder, but was unable to stop it from taking place.

Moreover, Pavlyuchenkov says that his accomplices decided to kill him after he had refused to take an active part in the murder. Hence he is asking for state protection, even in the Lefortovo pretrial prison block.

The Supreme Court initially set the hearing of the Politkovskaya family's complaint about the "mild sentence" handed down to Pavlyuchenkov for March 14.

The Supreme Court's criminal cases board subsequently decided to postpone the hearing indefinitely, due to the prisoner's inability to attend for health reasons, even though the board had documents which stated Pavlyuchenkov's desire to attend the hearing.

Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, a confessed accomplice in the Anna Politkovskaya murder case, was sentenced to 11 years in prison by the Moscow City Court in December 2012.

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

In total, six people are suspected of involvement in her murder. The other five suspects are in custody and will be tried separately. Lom-Ali Gaitukayev is accused of having organized the murder and of having hired three of his relatives to help him, the Makhmudov brothers Rustam, Ibragim and Dzhabrail, as well as a former police official, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov.