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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Politkovskaya Suspects Unearthed

Investigators have identified new suspects in the 2006 killing of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya, the newspaper’s deputy editor said Tuesday.

The suspected triggerman, meanwhile, evaded capture in April and is traveling in Europe, the editor, Sergei Sokolov, said at a news conference.

Wednesday marks the third anniversary of Politkovskaya’s death, which stirred Western outrage and raised new fears about media freedom in Russia. A Paris-based media watchdog complained of state interference when its representatives failed to receive Russian visas to attend events commemorating the killing.

Politkovskaya, an investigative reporter who exposed abuses in Chechnya and was critical of the Kremlin, was shot dead in her Moscow apartment building on Oct. 7, 2006.

No one has been convicted in her death. Three men accused of being accomplices were cleared in a jury trial in February. The Supreme Court overturned the verdict in June and ordered a retrial in September. But the start of the retrial was indefinitely postponed at the insistence of Politkovskaya’s adult children, who believe that the initial investigation was carried out poorly. The case has been sent back to prosecutors.

Investigators have failed to identify the organizers of the murder, and a fourth suspect, Rustam Makhmudov, who is believed to have pulled the trigger, remains at large.

“The killer could have been arrested in April but managed to escape,” Sokolov told reporters.

He said he was aware that the killer was in Europe, traveling from one country to another.

Novaya Gazeta has been conducting an independent investigation into the killing and has been cooperating with the authorities.

Sokolov said investigators have identified new people who might have been involved in the killing, but their names cannot be disclosed yet because the investigation is ongoing.

He said the newspaper’s investigation suggested that the three suspects who were acquitted in February were involved in the killing, as well as several people in the security forces.

Two representatives of Reporters Without Borders were supposed to attend the news conference Tuesday but failed to obtain Russian visas.

The group’s head, Jean-François Julliard, accused the Russian authorities of meddling, a charge that they denied.

“It was extremely important for us to be in Russia alongside Anna Politkovskaya’s colleagues and family on the third anniversary of her murder,” Julliard said in an e-mailed statement. “Moscow does not want us to address the Russians directly. But we will not give up.”

A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Paris, Andrei Kleimenov, said the visa denials had no political motivations.

“There is no politics. They didn’t get their visas because the papers were incorrectly filled out,” Kleimenov told Interfax.

Kleimenov didn’t elaborate on what was wrong with the two representatives’ application forms.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the visas were denied because of “some technical reasons.”

He said he did not have further details.

n A lawyer for Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who won a defamation lawsuit against Memorial human rights leader Oleg Orlov on Tuesday, said Kadyrov would file a defamation lawsuit against Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov and several of the newspaper’s journalists.

Novaya Gazeta, known for its critical investigative stories about Chechnya, said in a statement that “there was nothing to comment on yet.”