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Mastermind behind murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s dies in prison

15 June 2017
Lom-Ali Gaytukayev

Lom-Ali Gaytukayev, who was sentenced to lifetime in prison for planning the 2006 murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya, died in a penal colony in the Vologda Oblast on 10 June.

Ekaterina Avtushko, head of the press-office of Federal Penitentiary Service in Vologda Oblast, has confirmed his death. His body was handed to his relatives, who will bury him in Chechnya.

‘He had a severe chronic illness. He was going through treatment for a long time’, Avtushko told RBK.

Gaytukayev’s relatives claim that he died from systematic abuse while in prison. His nephew, Tamerlan Gaytukayev, told Caucasian Knot that he saw bruises on his body.

‘But uncle said of the bruises “there’s nothing to fear of, they will heal”. But he was badly beaten in the liver and kidney’, Tamerlan said.

In 2015, Gaytukayev’s lawyer Elena Kharyonovskaya appealed for a criminal investigation into Gaytukayev’s treatment in prison. However, the court denied his request, arguing that the beatings had not been proven.

Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist and Kremlin-critic from Novaya Gazeta, was known for her critical reports from the North Caucasus region. She harshly criticized the leadership of Chechnya for its systematic gross violations of human rights. She was murdered On 7 October 2006, on the day of the 54th birthday of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The trial, which lasted for more than ten years, concluded that Gaytukayev, as well as Sergey Hadzhikurbanov and three brothers from the Makhmudov family guilty. The shooter, Rustam Makhmudov, and the chief planner, Lom-Ali Gaytukayev, were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014. The rest received sentences of 12, 14, and 20 years in jail.

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