Russian court rules open trial in journalist’s murder case

By RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Three men charged in the October 2006 murder of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya will be tried in an open court, a Moscow military judge ruled Monday.

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The court turned down prosecutors’ request to hold the trial in camera. The prosecution had said that material due to be presented as evidence during the trial included classified documents.

Defence lawyers acting for the suspects and the journalist’s family had insisted on an open trial.

“A closed trial could lead to negative consequences,” a lawyer of one of the suspects said adding there were only a few classified documents in the case files, which were unlikely to be read out at the trial.

The presiding judge said, however, the trial would be held in a closed court “if jury members are reported to come under pressure.” The court is expected to select a jury for the trial on Tuesday.

Politkovskaya, who gained international recognition for her criticism of the Kremlin and reports of military atrocities against civilians in the troubled Caucasus republic of Chechnya, was gunned down in an elevator in her Moscow apartment building in what police described as a contract killing.