Former Achkhoi-Martan Chief Charged with Complicity in Politkovskaya Murder

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 37

Russian news agencies reported on September 22 that Shamil Buraev, the former head of Chechnya’s Achkhoi-Martan district who was arrested on September 13 and accused of organizing the contract killing of Anna Politkovskaya (Chechnya Weekly, September 20) has been formally charged with complicity in the murder. Prosecutors claim that Buraev was given Politkovskaya’s home address by Federal Security Service (FSB) Lt. Col. Pavel Ryaguzov and then passed it to a group of Chechen brothers, the Makhmudovs, who carried out the murder. Interfax quoted Buraev’s lawyer, Pyotr Kozakov, as saying his client had nothing to do with the murder. “This is his clear position, and he is determined to prove it and to defend his honest name,” Kazakov said. Lawyers for the Makhmudovs have also denied their clients’ involvement in the murder.

Chechnya’s human rights ombudsman, Nurdi Nukhazhiev, told Interfax on September 21 that he was convinced Buraev was neither directly or indirectly involved in Politkovskaya’s death and that his arrest was “an attempt to find a non-existent ‘Chechen trail’ in this case.” Nukhazhiev added: “He never had any conflict with Politkovskaya. On the contrary, when Buraev was sacked as the head of the district administration in 2004, she wrote an article in his support. The main thing is to claim that Buraev and other Chechens are suspected of organizing the murder of the journalist.”