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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Acquitted Suspect Back in Jail

A former Moscow police officer acquitted in the 2006 murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been detained on suspicion of extortion.

Sergei Khadzhikurbanov is accused of extorting $350,000 from a key witness in Politkovskaya's murder trial, which saw Khadzhikurbanov and two others acquitted in February, Interfax reported.

The witness, city police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, owed money to Khadzhikurbanov but could not pay it back, Novaya Gazeta reported in February. In lieu of the cash, Khadzhikurbanov tried in vain to force Pavlyuchenkov to spy on Politkovskaya shortly before her death, the newspaper said.

Khadzhikurbanov was charged in the purported extortion attempt before he was released from custody in late February following his acquittal in the Politkovskaya case on condition that he not leave the city, Novaya Gazeta said.

Two months after Politkovskaya's slaying, Pavlyuchenkov survived an attempt on his life, Novaya Gazeta reported, without elaborating.

Khadzhikurbanov was detained in Moscow on Thursday while being questioned by city police investigators.

A former officer with the organized crime department of the Moscow city police department, Khadzhikurbanov was cleared of involvement in Politkovskaya's murder along with Chechen brothers Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov. Politkovskaya's son and Novaya Gazeta editors said at the time that they still believe that the three were involved in the murder.

Khadzhikurbanov had been accused of organizing the killing and obtaining the gun used to shoot Politkovskaya dead in the elevator of her central Moscow apartment building on Oct. 7, 2006.

The Makhmudovs had been charged as accomplices, while a third Makhmudov brother, Rustam, is suspected of pulling the trigger. Rustam Makhmudov remains at large and is believed to be hiding abroad. An international warrant has been issued for his arrest.