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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechen Charged in Politkovskaya Case

The former head of a district in Chechnya has been charged as an accomplice in organizing the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, his lawyer said.

Shamil Burayev, who was detained by police earlier this month as he drove his car in Moscow, was charged with "complicity in murder as an accomplice" by the Prosecutor General's Office, defense lawyer Pyotr Kozakov said Friday.

He gave no further details, but he later told Interfax that Burayev had maintained his innocence in the face of police interrogation.

Prosecutors could not be reached for comment late Friday.

Burayev was the head of Chechnya's Achkoi-Martan district administration for eight years until 2003, when he was fired by then-Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov. He also ran for president of the republic.

Prosecutor General Yury Chaika has said the Oct. 7 murder of Politkovskaya was organized by a Chechen criminal group in Moscow that specialized in contract killings. Among the 10 suspects detained were five law enforcement officers, including an officer with the Federal Security Service, he said.

Chaika did not identify those arrested. The Federal Security Service has identified its arrested officer as Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Ryaguzov.

Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that Burayev was arrested after information emerged during the court case about Ryaguzov's arrest that Ryaguzov had possibly passed Politkovskaya's address to Burayev.

Chechnya's ombudsman, Nurdi Nukhazhiyev, cast doubt on reports of Burayev's involvement Friday, saying investigators were stacking their evidence to find a scapegoat from Chechnya.