Investigative journalist Politkovskaya's killer identified

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Moscow, Mar 28 (UNI) The killer of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been identified and placed on the ''most wanted'' list, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said today.

Politkovskaya, working with daily newspaper Novaya Gazeta and a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, had been gunned down in the entrance of her apartment building here in October 2006.

Her murder created an international uproar demanding thorough investigation in the case.

''The person who killed Politkovskaya has been identified and investigators are taking steps to trace and arrest the suspect,'' the Ria Novosti quoted top prosecutor at the Prosecutor General's Office, Vyacheslav Smirnov, as saying.

Mr Smirnov said nine people had so far been charged with the case, including former Federal Security Service's Colonel Pavel Ryaguzov, who is alleged to have passed the journalist's address to the killers.

Custody of Ryaguzov was extended by a military court until August 21 today.

Novaya Gazeta's editor Dmitry Muratov said the information related to the killer was "nothing new" and had been released by prosecutors in order to extend custody of Ryaguzov.

''As a matter of fact, there is nothing new in this because on October 6 last year this announcement was officially made to Novaya Gazeta by the head of the investigating group,'' Mr Muratov said.

''This information has emerged once more due to the fact that it was necessary to extend custody of one of those people (Pavel Ryaguzov) detained on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Politkovskaya.

In December 2007, a city court remanded in custody until April 7 three other suspects in the case, including a former police official in Chechnya. All the suspects have denied the charges against them.

Last December, Mr Putin vowed to do everything possible to complete the investigation into the murder of Politkovskaya.

According to the international organisation, Reporters Without Borders, 21 journalists were murdered in Russia between 2000 and 2007.

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