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Politkovskaya Case Defendant: Authorities Sought to Influence Testimony

A defendant on trial for the 2006 murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya says authorities tried to persuade him to implicate a prominent Kremlin foe or top Chechen officials in the crime.

Former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov Thursday old court officials authorities he was offered lighter terms if he would implicate self-exiled Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky. Khadzhikurbanov also said the officials suggested he implicate senior officials of Russia's war-torn southern republic of Chechnya in the crime.

A gunman shot and killed Politkovskaya in October 2006 in her Moscow apartment building. She was a strong critic of then-Russian president Vladimir Putin, and accused Russian forces of committing major human rights abuses in Chechnya.

Berezovsky fled Russia in 2000 and was granted political asylum in Britain, which has repeatedly refused Russian requests to extradite him.

Russian officials have accused Britain of providing Berezovsky with a safe haven from which to criticize the Putin government.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.