Retrial in Klebnikov Case Halted

The Moscow City Court on Monday halted the retrial of two suspects accused of the 2004 murder of U.S. journalist Paul Klebnikov because one of them was still at large, court officials and a defense lawyer said.

"The court decided to send Klebnikov's murder case back to the prosecutors until [Kazbek] Dukuzov has been tracked down," court spokeswoman Anna Usachyova told journalists after a hearing held behind closed doors.

Usachyova declined to give any further details about the retrial. Reporters have been barred from the courtroom because some evidence has been classified as secret.

In May 2006, a jury acquitted two Chechen men, Kazbek Dukuzov and Musa Vakhayev, of murdering Klebnikov.

Prosecutors said the initial trial had been flawed and appealed for a retrial. But the retrial process was suspended in March after Dukuzov disappeared.

"Up to now, there has been no evidence that there was a real hunt for Dukuzov," said Ruslan Koblev, a lawyer for a third man, a Moscow notary, who is on trial with the two suspects on separate charges.

Klebnikov, editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, was shot dead near his Moscow office, stoking international concern about freedom of speech in Russia. Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed last year.