A Russian court has rejected a petition by the family of journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya for a new probe into her 2006 murder.

A Moscow military court judge, Nikolai Tkachuk, Friday refused to delay the retrial of three men - Chechen brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov and former security police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov - accused of having helped arrange her murder.

A jury had acquitted the three in February saying there was not sufficient evidence to convict them. But in June, Russia's Supreme Court overturned the decision and ordered a retrial.  
Politkovskaya's children had sought the delay, saying the protracted legal process would distract from a hunt for the actual killer.  

The defense lawyer for the three insisted on the innocence of his clients and supported the motion for the delay.

Politkovskaya researched and wrote extensively about rights abuses in Chechnya. She was gunned down in her Moscow apartment building in October of 2006.   

Colleagues say Politkovskaya's reporting on atrocities in Chechnya angered the Kremlin, while earning her international acclaim.

Last month's killing of a colleague, Natalya Estemirova, places the Politkovskaya case under renewed scrutiny.  Authorities found the body of the acclaimed rights campaigner, who worked alongside Politkovskaya, just hours after she was abducted. She had been shot in the head and chest.

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