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Russian convicted over Putin critic’s murder pardoned after fighting in Ukraine

Sergei Khadzhikurbanov who was given 20-year prison sentence Russia in 2014 for his role in assassinating the investigative journalist is now pardoned after he fought in Ukraine and remains in Russia’s army.
Participants of a rally in memory of Anna Politkovskaya attach her portrait to the streets in St.Petersburg in 2017. Photo: RIA Novosti
Russian convicted over Putin critic’s murder pardoned after fighting in Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin has pardoned a former Russian detective convicted in the 2006 murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, following his service in Ukraine, according to his lawyer, The Guardian reports.

Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, sentenced to 20 years in 2014 for organizing the murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist, Putin’s critic Anna Politkovskaya, has been pardoned by Putin. His lawyer, Alexei Mikhalchik, stated that Khadzhikurbanov earned the pardon after a six-month military contract in Ukraine and remains in Russia’s armed forces.

Mikhalchik did not detail when Khadzhikurbanov enlisted to fight in Ukraine or if he first joined Prigozhin’s Wagner group, known for recruiting prisoners.

“Khadzhikurbanov participated in [the war in Ukraine] as a prisoner under his first contract,”  he said, according to news channel RBC. “He was then pardoned and now participates in [the war in Ukraine] as a military man having signed a [second] contract with the defense ministry,” the lawyer added.

Khadzhikurbanov was among five individuals imprisoned for the assassination of Politkovskaya, a staunch Kremlin critic and chronicler of Russia’s Chechen wars.

Investigators never found who orchestrated Politkovskaya’s murder, a point her family has criticized. Recently, Russia’s Defense Ministry and the Wagner military company have enlisted numerous prisoners for the Ukraine war, promising freedom for six months of survival in combat, a deal requiring Putin’s personal pardon approval.

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