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Court told Russian security service sought Politkovskaya address before murder

Moscow, 5 February: It has been revealed at the trial in the case of the murder of Novaya Gazeta political correspondent Anna Politkovskaya at the Moscow District military court that law enforcement staff sought the journalist's address and her personal details before her murder.

At the hearing, representatives of the affected party (Politkovskaya's family) read out "an official document showing that on 18 September 2006 (19 days before the murder), an FSB (Federal Security Service) directorate asked for information about Politkovskaya", the Interfax correspondent has reported. The query was sent to a directorate of the Russian Federal Migration Service.

Reading out the document, Anna Stavitskaya, the lawyer acting for the affected party, explained that the information had been sought by a certain Andreyev, who had later given evidence in this case.

Meanwhile, at the Thursday (5 February) hearing, the prosecution read out the evidence given to the investigation by former FSB employee Pavel Ryaguzov, who is involved in the proceedings in connection with a different episode. At the hearing, he retracted his evidence, saying it was false.

According to the evidence he gave to the investigation, he had been approached in September 2006 by former head of Achkhoy-Martanovskiy District of Chechnya Shamil Burayev (a former defendant in the case - Interfax) with a request to find out Politkovskaya's address. In his evidence, Ryaguzov explained that he had been unable to establish the actual address at which Politkovskaya lived but had established her registered address.

At the hearing on Thursday, Ryaguzov said that he had given this evidence under pressure from investigators, who intended to charge him under five articles of the Criminal Code but withdrew some of the charges in exchange for the evidence they needed. (Passage omitted)

Stavitskaya said: "The only query which is not explained in any way is the query from a directorate of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (dated 18 September 2006 Interfax)."

The lawyer said that, in his evidence, directorate employee Andreyev had "explained that he had not raised this query". "He explained that other employees also had access to his number, and it could have been used by other people," Stavitskaya said. (Passage omitted).