A Moscow city court has opened preliminary hearings into the killing of prominent Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, marking the start of a second bid to convict the suspected killers of the former Kremlin critic.
Five defendants, including four men from Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya -- Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, his nephews Rustam, Ibragim, and Dzhabrail Makhmudov -- and former policeman Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, have been charged with murder and illegal weapons possession.
Three of the suspects were acquitted in 2009 and are being retried.
Another former policeman, Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who agreed to cooperate with investigators, was tried separately and sentenced to 11 years in December for his role in the case.
Politkovskaya was shot dead outside her apartment in Moscow on October 7, 2006. She was known for her investigative reports on human rights abuses in Chechnya.
Politkovskaya's family has denounced authorities' efforts in the case, saying prosecutors' reluctance to probe the question of who ordered the killing compromises any possible convictions.
Politkovskaya made herself a name reporting on human rights abuses, particularly in Chechnya where two wars have been waged since the collapse of the Soviet Union, official malfeasance, and corruption.
Based on reporting by Reuters, Interfax, and RIA-Novosti