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Russia revisits reporter’s murder

Reuters / July 4, 2009
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MOSCOW - Russian detectives said yesterday that they had reopened an investigation into the 2004 murder of a US reporter just days after drawing criticism from the journalist’s family for halting the inquiry.

The family of Paul Klebnikov, who was gunned down on a Moscow street five years ago, have called on President Obama, who visits Moscow next week for talks with Russian leaders, to press Russia to bring his killers to justice.

Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Prosecutor General’s main investigative unit, said the investigation had been restarted but gave no explanation for why it was halted.

“Yes, the investigation was halted, but now the case has been restarted and the time frame for the case extended,’’ Bastrykin was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency. “We shall investigate the case and find the truth.’’

Klebnikov, editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, was shot as he left his office in central Moscow on July 9, 2004. He later died of his injuries in an elevator that stalled at a Moscow hospital.

The murder drew widespread condemnation, but his killers - and those who ordered the murder - remained at large.

The trial of two men, Kazbek Dukuzov and Musa Vakhayev, who prosecutors said had carried out Klebnikov’s murder collapsed in 2006 when a jury acquitted them.

The two men always said they were innocent.

Russia ordered a retrial, but it was halted in 2007 because Dukuzov could not be tracked down.

Vakhayev has agreed not to leave the country.

Prosecutors said yesterday that the two men were still suspects as was Dukuzov’s brother, Magomed, and Khozh-Akhmed Nukhayev, a businessman and former Chechen separatist commander who prosecutors believe helped to organize the reporter’s murder.