Murdered Reporter Mourned

Several hundred people braved the rain Tuesday to gather in central Moscow and commemorate the second anniversary of the murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Hundreds of police on Pushkin Square patrolled the crowd, which included Politkovskaya's colleagues and children, human rights activists and political opposition leaders.

Dmitry Muratov, Politkovskaya's editor at Novaya Gazeta, criticized the decision to try the men accused in her slaying at the Moscow District Military Court, which in 2004 acquitted several men of the 1994 murder of Moskovsky Komsomolets reporter Dmitry Kholodov.

"This very court heard the murder case of journalist Dmitry Kholodov and let his killers walk free," Muratov told the crowd.

No one has been convicted in Kholodov's murder.

The Moscow District Military Court announced Tuesday that preliminary hearings in the Politkovskaya case would begin Oct. 15, Itar-Tass reported.

Politkovskaya was gunned down in the entrance of her apartment building in central Moscow in October 2006. She was killed on the birthday of then-President Vladimir Putin, of whom she was a fierce critic.

Investigators have charged three men with Politkovskaya's murder, including two ethnic Chechens -- brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov -- and former city police official Sergei Khadzhikurbanov.

Rustam Makhmudov, an ethnic Chechen suspected of pulling the trigger, remains at large and is reportedly living abroad. Federal Security Service officer Pavel Ryaguzov was arrested last year in connection with the crime but has been cleared. Ryaguzov remains in custody awaiting trial along with Khadzhikurbanov on charges of abuse of power.

Standing with her brother, Ilya, among the crowd on Pushkin Square Tuesday, Vera Politkovskaya, 28, daughter of the slain journalist, said she feared that the names of the people who ordered her mother's death would "never be published in our country."