Anna Politkovskaya Murderers Given Life In Prison


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Two of the five men found guilty for the 2006 killing of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya were handed life sentences on Monday by the Moscow city court.

The other three men convicted have received prison sentences of 12, 14, and 20 years for their role in the murder.

Politkovskaya, known for uncovering government corruption and human rights abuses as well as an outspoken Putin critic, was shot and killed on October 7, 2006 in the lobby of her apartment building.

The slaying has received international attention not only due to the horrific nature of the crime, but for the eight years of investigation and trials between Politkovskaya's death and a conviction.

While the sentencing has provided some relief to the family of Anna Politkovskaya, it is still unknown who originally ordered the hit on the journalist. Last year, Russian police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov received an 11 year sentence for supplying the murder weapon however revealed nothing about the person or persons giving orders.

"For as long as the name of the mastermind is not known, there can be no talk of revealing the truth," said Nadezhda Prusenkova, a spokeswoman for the independent paper Novaya Gazeta. "Today's sentencing is important, but only a step. They are the lowest level in this criminal chain, which must still be revealed and punished."

The men sentenced Monday have only been found guilty of receiving money for and carrying out the hit on Politkovskaya. Their conviction does not indicate responsibility for the order itself, the origin of which remains unknown due to what many believe is the Russian government's neglect. "At this point in time, it really does not seem that the government and investigation authorities are serious about getting to the bottom of it," said Tanya Lokshina, head of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch.

"I am sure the name behind the murder will not be revealed under the current political regime," said Politkovskaya's former colleague Lev Ponomaryov. "If the order came from the ruling elite's senior members, nobody will risk speaking because they know for sure that would cost their life."

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