Second Klebnikov murder trial begins FridayPosted Mar 25 2007
The retrial of two Chechen men for the 2004 murder of Forbes Russia Editor Paul Klebnikov begins Friday in Moscow. A Moscow city court acquitted Kazbek Dukuzov and Musa Vakhayev on May 5, 2006, who are believed to have killed Klebnikov in a contract-style killing, one of 13 such murders since Russian President Vladimir Putin took office in 2000. The 4-month trial was closed off to the public and all of the participants, including the 12 jurors, were silenced by a gag order. Court officials said that classified evidence and the safety of the participants were the main reasons for closing the trail. According to CPJ, some of the defense representatives made threatening statements that may have affected the jury, along with other allegations that cast the trial's outcome in unfavorable light. After the verdict in May, the Klebnikov family attempted to get the trial's transcripts, which are the only available documents that detail the proceedings, but were blocked and unable to begin the appeal process. Russian law states that access to the transcripts are to be given to plaintiffs within three days. The Klebnikov family received the documents in September, four months after requesting them. On November 9, 2006, the Russian Supreme Court overturned the acquittal and ordered a retrial of the two men. The jury selection will commence Friday. Paul Klebnikov, the 41-year-old U.S. journalist, was shot outside of his Moscow office on July 9, 2004.