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Europe

Politkovskaya Murder Trial to be Closed

A Russian court reversed a decision to open to the public the trial of four men charged in connection with the 2006 murder of reporter and Kremlin critic, Anna Politkovskaya.

Ilya, son of slain investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, stands outside a military court in Moscow, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008

Politkovskaya's son Ilya expressed his outrage at the decision

The Moscow District Military Court ruled that the media and public would be barred from the trial after the jury's refusal to hear the case in front of the press.

"This trial will continue as a closed trial," said Judge Yevgeny Zubov, who is presiding over the case. "This is considering the security of the participants in the trial, that of their relatives and their loved ones."

Zubov's decision came after his ruling on the first day of the trial on Monday, when he said the proceedings would be open but that he had the right to close them.

Politkovskaya, an award-winning reporter for the Novaya Gazeta, was a fierce critic of the Kremlin's actions during two wars in Chechnya in the early 1990s.

The slain journalist's family and colleagues have lashed out at the decision.

"I am very disappointed," a lawyer for Politkovskaya's family, Karinna Moskalenko, told reporters. "I think this trial should have been open, not only because all trials should be, but because she was a public figure and the public should know the circumstances of her killing."

Politkovskaya's son, Ilya, said: "Of course we do not like the closed trial... There is nothing wrong with having journalists there."

The slain journalist's family members have sharply criticized the investigation, complaining the defendants on trial are only loosely connected to the contract killing and of the investigation's secrecy and painstaking progress more than two years after her murder.

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