MOSCOW, September 19 (RAPSI) - Ex-police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who pleaded guilty to charges connected with the murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya, told the Moscow City Court on Thursday that he ran surveillance on murdered Forbes Russia Editor in Chief Paul Khlebnikov, honoring the request of two of his co-defendants.
Khlebnikov, editor-in-chief of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, was shot outside of his office on June 9, 2004. He was a United States national who had worked for Forbes since 1989.
Pavlyushenkov told the court that the surveillance after Khlebnikov was set up at the request of Lom-Ali Gaitukayev and Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, who he later identified at the court as the people who asked him to follow Anna Politkovskaya.
Pavlyuchenkov had previously headed up the surveillance squad of the Moscow Police Force, in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During the Politkovskaya murder trial he admitted to having organized various illegal surveillance operations for criminal clientele, paying his subordinates from $100 to $150 a day.
Politkovskaya, a journalist for the opposition-minded Novaya Gazeta, was shot and killed in her apartment building on October 7, 2006. Her murder is believed by some to be linked to her groundbreaking coverage of human rights abuses in Chechnya.
Five suspects are presently on trial. 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, and another former police official, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov. Rustam Makhmudov has been named as the alleged triggerman.
Pavlyuchenkov earlier signed a plea bargain, gave evidence against his accomplices and was sentenced in December 2012.