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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

4 Charged in Politkovskaya Murder

Prosecutors have charged four of the 10 suspects arrested in the murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a lawyer for one of the suspects said Tuesday.

The lawyer, Murad Musayev, said his client, Dzhabrail Makhmudov, had an alibi for the days around the Oct. 7 killing.

"In that period he was situated outside Moscow, with his parents in Chechnya," he said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

Musayev said his client was one of three brothers who had been arrested and that all four suspects had been charged with murder. Musayev initially said late Monday that just the three brothers had been charged. He did not identify the fourth suspect Tuesday.

Musayev said he did not know where the other two brothers had been at the time of the murder. "The elder brother was in the hospital with a serious illness in the fall, but he does not remember exactly when," he said.

Murder charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Russia has a moratorium on the death penalty.

A spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General's Office refused to comment on whether any of the suspects had been charged.

The Tvoi Den tabloid on Tuesday identified 11 suspects whom it said had been arrested in the case, despite Monday's announcement by Prosecutor General Yury Chaika that 10 people had been arrested. The discrepancy could not be immediately reconciled. Chaika said the 10 belonged to a Moscow-based crime group and included the group's leader, a Chechen crime boss, and five law enforcement officers.

The newspaper's list of suspects includes Pavel Ryaguzov, the Federal Security Service officer whom the FSB identified Monday as a suspect. One of the suspects, the paper said, was the man who followed Politkovskaya into her apartment building and shot her.

Novaya Gazeta deputy editor Sergei Sokolov said Monday that the names of those arrested coincided with those it suspected of involvement in the murder. The newspaper is conducting its own investigation. On Tuesday, Sokolov said he would not comment on the list of suspects that appeared in Tvoi Den. "That would significantly hamper the investigation," he said.

It remains unclear who ordered the murder. Chaika blamed an unidentified Kremlin foe living abroad. His sketchy description of the mastermind seemed to implicate businessman Boris Berezovsky or Chechen rebel envoy Akhmad Zakayev, both of whom live in London despite Moscow's efforts to extradite them to face various charges at home.

Sokolov said the newspaper was not convinced that the two men were involved and said Chaika was trying to discredit the very people he was accusing.

Chaika said the crime group might have killed U.S. reporter Paul Klebnikov in 2004, Central Bank first deputy head Andrei Kozlov in September and several people in Ukraine and Latvia.

Latvian Interior Minister Ivars Godmanis said Tuesday that he would ask the prosecutor's office for any information linking the suspects with two unsolved murder cases in Latvia. He did not specify which two murders.

Politkovskaya, who wrote hundreds of articles critical of government action in Chechnya, would have turned 49 on Thursday. A large gathering is expected on Pushkin Square to commemorate the occasion. Opposition leaders, including Garry Kasparov and Eduard Limonov, will make speeches at 7 p.m. After that, people will light candles and walk to her apartment building, on Lesnaya Ulitsa.