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Russia: Suspected Killer of Journalist Politkovskaya Arrested

An image of Rustam Makhmudov distributed by Interpol

Russia has arrested the main suspect in the 2006 assassination of prominent journalist and government critic Anna Politkovskaya.

Russian officials announced the arrest of Rustam Makhmudov Tuesday. A spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee says Makhmudov was arrested in the republic of Chechnya and is to be transferred to Moscow for questioning.

Politkovskaya was internationally renowned for her extensive reports in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper on human rights abuses and corruption in Chechnya and other parts of the Russian Caucasus plagued by a deadly Islamist insurgency. She also was a sharp critic of the Kremlin and its policies in Chechnya, as well as of the republic's leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. A gunman shot and killed her at her Moscow apartment building in October 2006.

Editors at Novaya Gazeta welcomed the arrest, saying it will help establish the truth. The arrest marks a possible breakthrough in the investigation, which has still failed to identify who ordered the killing.

Two of Makhmudov's brothers and another man were accused of playing a role in the murder of Politkovskaya. A court found them not guilty in 2009, but the Russian Supreme Court overruled the acquittal and sent the case back to prosecutors. Rustam Makhmudov had eluded capture and had remained at large.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.