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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Jailed Police Officer Now the Focus in Politkovskaya Case

A jailed former police lieutenant in the western Siberian town of Nizhnevartovsk appears to be the focus of the investigation into the killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Politkovskaya, who reported for Novaya Gazeta, accused Sergei Lapin of committing atrocities against Chechen civilians in a September 2001 article in the newspaper.

The journalist soon after received e-mailed threats that Lapin would seek revenge, prompting her to flee to Austria. Nizhnevartovsk authorities brought charges against Lapin in 2002, but later dropped them.

Lapin, who served as an officer in the elite OMON special forces in Chechnya, is now serving time in a Chechen prison for one of the crimes he was originally accused of committing by Politkovskaya.

But two of Lapin's former colleagues who were also implicated in Politkovskaya's article were recently spotted in Nizhnevartovsk, Kommersant reported. International warrants were earlier issued for the two colleagues, Alexander Prilepin and Valery Minin.

A team of investigators from the Prosecutor General's Office arrived in Nizhnevartovsk a week ago to pursue the investigation into Politkovskaya's Oct. 7 slaying, police spokeswoman Tatyana Abdulina confirmed Wednesday.

Abdulina declined to give further details about the investigation. Viktor Potapov, a spokesman for the Prosecutor General's Office, also declined to comment.

The investigators tried unsuccessfully to track down Prilepin and Minin but did question friends and relatives of the two men and of Lapin, Kommersant reported.

In his televised call-in show on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin pledged that those who had killed Politkovskaya and Andrei Kozlov, the Central Bank's former No. 2 official, would be brought to justice.