MOSCOW, February 11 (RAPSI) – Judge Pavel Melekhin on Tuesday refused to recuse himself from the Anna Politkovskaya murder trial, RAPSI reports from Moscow City Court.

Defense lawyers have claimed that the judge has a personal dislike for the defendants. Moreover, the defense claimed that the judge violated the equality of participants and allowed the prosecutor to violate requirements of the law.

Novaya Gazeta newspaper journalist Politkovskaya was shot and killed in her apartment building on October 7, 2006. Her murder has been linked by some experts to her coverage of human rights abuses in Chechnya.

The five suspects include former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, Rustam, Ibragim, and Dzhabrail Makhmudov, and their uncle Lom-Ali Gaitukayev. The investigators believe that Rustam Makhmudov committed the murder with the help of his brothers Ibragim and Dzhabrail, their uncle, and Khadzhikurbanov.