MOSCOW, May 21 (UPI) -- Five men have been convicted in the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a writer for the independent paper Novaya Gazeta and a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Politkovskaya was killed in 2006 while she was covering human rights violations in the war in Chechnya, vocalizing criticisms of both Putin, who was then in his second term, and the Chechen leaders. She was shot in an elevator in her apartment building by Rustam Makhmudov who was assisted by his brothers Ibragim and Dzhabrail. Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, their uncle, and Sergei Khadzhikurbanov were also convicted for helping plan and organize the murder.
Four of the men are from Chechnya, where Politkovskaya made plenty of enemies including the Russian government. This is the second trial for the men. Ibragim, Dzhabrail, and Khadzhikubanov were acquitted of the murder in 2009, sparking an international outcry questioning freedom of the press in Russia. The Russian Supreme Court overturned the verdict and ordered a new trial.
The judge is expected to hand down a sentence Wednesday and prosecutors are seeking life in prison for all five. Their lawyer told reporters they plan to appeal the conviction.
Though the people who were physically responsible for the murder have been convicted, there is no lead as to who ordered her to be killed.
Sergei Markin, a spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee, told Russian state media that they are using "exhaustive measures" to identify the culprit.
"We agree with the verdict, but this is only a small part of those who are guilty in the crime," said Polikovskaya's son, Ilya Politkovsky.