Suspect's Surrender Offer Rejected

APDzhabrail Makhmudov, center, and his brother Ibragim, right, attending Politkovskaya's murder trial on Tuesday.
The man who prosecutors say shot investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya dead in her apartment building in 2006 offered to turn himself in to authorities six months ago, a lawyer for the suspect's brother said Tuesday.

Three men are currently on trial at the Moscow Military District Court on suspicion of involvement in Politkovskaya's slaying, while the man prosecutors accuse of pulling the trigger, Rustam Makhmudov, is believed to be living abroad.

Six months ago, Makhmudov passed a message through his relatives from an undisclosed location that he would turn himself in if Russian authorities guaranteed an open trial for him in a separate kidnapping case against him, said Murad Musayev, a lawyer for Makhmudov's brother Dhzabrail Makhmudov.

Authorities refused to agree to Rustam Makhmudov's conditions, Musayev said.

Dhzabrail Makhmudov and another Makhmudov brother, Ibragim, are charged as accomplices in Politkovskaya's murder along with former Moscow police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov. All three defendants have maintained that they are innocent.

Addressing reporters Tuesday at the courthouse in central Moscow, the mother of the Makhmudov brothers, Zalpa Makhmudova, said her family had received the message from Rustam, whose whereabouts are currently unknown.

"We don't know where Rustam is at the moment," Makhmudova said.

Politkovskaya, who wrote critical reports about human rights abuses in Chechnya, was shot dead in the elevator of her apartment building in October 2006, rekindling fears about the safety of journalists working in the country.

The trial is to resume Wednesday.