For the family of slain investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, the sentencing of five men deemed responsible for her death did not leave them with any sense of closure.
Instead, the trial and sentencing has left one very important question unanswered: Who led the conspiracy to kill her?
The Ukrainian journalist was known for her outspoken opinion on topics ranging from the corrupt Russian government to human rights issues.
She also pushed the envelope on the sensitive topic of Chechnya. Politkovskaya was determined to bring to light the things that others in Russia desperately wanted to remain secret.
In such circumstances, it becomes increasingly dangerous for an investigative reporter in Politkovskaya’s position.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 9, 2014
The 48-year-old woman was gunned down on October 7th, 2006 in the lobby of her apartment in Moscow.
The death of Politkovskaya created a national scandal. Many Russians were outraged by what they believed to be a government-orchestrated hit on the reporter.
Nearly eight years later, five men were sent to jail for killing her.
Pavel Melyokhin, the judge in the case, sentenced Rustam Makhmudov to life in prison for shooting Politkovskaya. His uncle Lom-Ali Gaitukayev was given the same sentence for providing logistics. Three other men were sent to jail with sentences ranging from 12 to 20 years.
— The Independent (@Independent) June 9, 2014
And yet, at no point were any of these men fingered as the one who masterminded Politkovskaya’s brutal death.
Said her son Ilya, “I will be satisfied only when the person or people who ordered this will be sentenced.”
The defendants exchanged smiles, which must have been severely unnerving to Politkovskaya's family.
Who smiles as they are sentenced to spend the rest of their life behind bars?
It has been revealed that the victim in this case is one of 23 reporters that has been gunned down in Russia since 2000. Politkovskaya is one of five lost to the Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian paper.
The Novaya Gazeta is performing its own investigation into the circumstances of her death.
Image via YouTube