The killer of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been identified and placed on the country's 'most wanted' list, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said on Friday.
The journalist, who gained international recognition for her criticism of the Kremlin and reports of atrocities against civilians in the troubled Caucasus republic of Chechnya, was gunned down in the entryway of her Moscow apartment building in October 2006.
"The person who killed Politkovskaya has been identified, and investigators are taking steps to trace and arrest the suspect," Vyacheslav Smirnov from the Prosecutor General's Office said.
The prosecutor said nine people had so far been charged in connection with the case, including former FSB Colonel Pavel Ryaguzov, who is alleged to have passed the journalist's address onto accomplices. Custody of Ryaguzov was extended by a military court until August 21 on Friday.
However, the editor of Novaya Gazeta newspaper, where Politkovskaya worked, said later on Friday that the information related to the killer was "nothing new", and had been released by prosecutors in order to extend custody of Ryaguzov.
"As a matter of fact, there is nothing new in this because on October 6 last year this announcement was officially made to Novaya Gazeta by the head of the investigating group," said Dmitry Muratov.
"This information has emerged once more due to the fact that it was necessary to extend custody of one of those people [Pavel Ryaguzov] detained on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Politkovskaya. As grounds for doing so it was announced that in connection with the establishment of the killer's identity, and the search, it was necessary to keep him in custody," he added.
In December 2007, a Moscow court remanded in custody until April 7 three other suspects in the case, including a former police official in Chechnya. All the suspects have denied the charges against them.
According to data from the international organization Reporters Without Borders, 21 journalists were murdered in Russia between 2000 and 2007.
Last Mod: 29 Mart 2008, 22:12