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Russian Official Faked Politkovskaya Suspect Passport

Anna Politkovskaya
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- A woman working for the Federal Migration Service in Russia's Chechnya gave a man suspected of killing journalist Anna Politkovskaya a false passport to flee the country, a spokesman for the agency has said.

Russian prosecutors have launched an international search for Chechen-born Rustam Makhmudov, who they believe shot dead the anti-Kremlin journalist in her apartment building in 2006.

"She made out a passport in someone else's name and instead of issuing it to that person, stuck in the photograph of this individual, who is on the run from investigators. For this she received a payment of $100," Konstantin Poltoranin, a spokesman for the Federal Migration Service, said.

"She is awaiting trial."

Last month, a Moscow court acquitted three men of helping Makhmudov kill Politkovskaya, one of the most politically charged court cases in Russia in recent years.

The failure of Russian prosecutors to capture the killer or the person, who ordered the killing, has attracted international criticism.

Interfax news agency earlier quoted a source in the Chechen section of the Russian Federal Migration Service as saying that the woman gave the passport to Makhmudov in December 2007, about 14 months after the murder.