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Three cleared over murder of Russian journalist

  • Story Highlights
  • Trial of three men accused over Anna Politkovskaya murder ends in acquittal
  • Kremlin critic Politkovskaya shot dead on her Moscow doorstep in October 2006
  • Defendants were brothers of alleged killer who is said to have fled Russia
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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- A jury in Moscow on Thursday acquitted three men charged with involvement on the murder of independent journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Anna Politkovskaya

Kremlin-critic Anna Politkovskaya was killed outside her Moscow home in 2006.

The not guilty verdicts followed a two month trial that was hampered from the start by the man accused of masterminding the shooting, Rustam Makhmudov.

Sergei Khadzhikurbanov -- a former Moscow police officer -- and Makhmudov's brothers, Ibragim and Dzhabrail were found not guilty of shooting dead Politkovskaya, a Kremlin critic, outside her Moscow home in October, 2006.

An award-winning investigative reporter, she earned a worldwide reputation for exposing Russian military brutality forces and human rights abuses in Chechnya.

Her reports were considered extremely embarrassing for former president, and now prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

Politkovskaya's death was described by media reports in Russia at the time as a contract-style killing.

A security camera captured a man in a white baseball cap entering the building a few moments before she was shot three times in the chest and once in the head.

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