Russian authorities have released a former policeman convicted of participating in the war in Ukraine. Photo: Courtesy of EPARussian authorities have released a former policeman who was sentenced to go to war in Ukraine. In 2006, he was sentenced to prison for the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. On Tuesday, the accused former policeman Sergei Khadzhikurbanov was released by his lawyer.
Khadzhikurbanov is one of five people sentenced for Politkovskaya’s murder. Politkovskaya was a staff member of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. The 48-year-old journalist was shot dead in the elevator of his Moscow home.
Khadzhikurbanov was asked to sign a contract to participate in Ukraine’s special military operations as a special forces fighter, AFP news agency reported citing lawyer Alexei Mikhalchik. To which he agreed. He was pardoned by a presidential order after his contract expired.’
Khadzhikurbanov signed another contract as a volunteer and is still fighting for Russia in Ukraine, the lawyer said.
Russia has reportedly sent thousands of convicted felons to the battlefield since the start of its military operation in Ukraine last February. Critics say that many of these tainted convicts are involved in new crimes after being released.
In 2009, the court first acquitted Khadzhikurbanov of Politkovskaya’s murder. Later in 2014, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Supreme Court.
Khadzhikurbanov’s lawyer said that if the sentence was not waived, he would have to stay in prison until at least 2030.
Journalist Politkovskaya was well known for her outspoken criticism of the Kremlin. In addition, he has written books on the abuse of power of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and the rise of President Vladimir Putin.
Khadzhikurbanov and four others were convicted of the murder, but the European Court of Human Rights in 2018 criticized Russian investigators for failing to identify the mastermind behind the crime.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned a young man convicted of brutally murdering his ex-girlfriend on the condition of going to war in Ukraine.
The Kremlin last week acknowledged the use of prisoners in the Ukraine war, saying criminals who ‘atone for their crimes with blood on the battlefield’ can be pardoned.
Olga Romanova, head of the Prisoners’ Rights Organization, said, “Russia has probably sent about 100,000 prisoners from prisons to war.”