16 Dec 2012

Prison sentence for ex police officer

10:47 am on 16 December 2012

A former Russian police officer has been sentenced to prison for 11 years for his role in the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006.

Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov was found guilty by a court in Moscow of tracking Politkovskaya's movements and providing the killer with a gun.

The BBC reports he struck a plea bargain to qualify for a reduced sentence and was tried separately from five other men accused of the killing.

The court also ordered Pavlyuchenkov to pay 3 million rubles (£60,500) in compensation to Ms Politkovskaya's children.

After the verdict, Pavlyuchenkov was led away from the courtroom by guards.

Politkovskaya, 48, was an investigative journalist who wrote highly critical reports on the Kremlin and of Russian military actions in Chechnya.

On 7 October, 2006, she was found shot dead in a lift at her block of flats in Moscow.

At the time, she was working for Novaya Gazeta, a small-circulation newspaper, known for its fierce attacks on the authorities.

Her family's lawyer lawyer said they would appeal against Friday's verdict for being too lenient.

The BBC reports three of the other accused were tried and acquitted for lack of evidence in 2009, but the verdict was overturned by the supreme court, which ordered them to be retried.

The prosecutors said Pavlyuchenkov was part of a gang formed by a Chechen crime boss who is is currently serving a jail sentence for the attempted murder of a businessman. He was charged over the Politkovskaya murder last year.

Another former police officer has been charged with providing logistical support.