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Chechen Man Sentenced For Politkovskaya's Murder Dies In Prison

Lom-Ali Gaitukayev appears in court during the announcement of the verdict in Moscow in June 2014.

Relatives of a Chechen man convicted of organizing the 2006 murder of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya say he has died in prison.

Lom-Ali Gaitukayev's relatives told the Caucasian Knot website on June 13 that they thought he most likely died as a result of being beaten at a maximum-security penal colony in Russia's western region of Vologda.

Gaitukayev's nephew, Temirlan Gaitukayev, said his uncle always had bruises on his face when he would visit him in the penal colony.

Gaitukayev's lawyer, Yelena Kharionovskaya, said she tried to file a lawsuit against the prison for the alleged beating of her client in 2015.

But she said the authorities refused to accept the lawsuit on the grounds that the beatings had not been proven.

In November 2015, Gaitukayev was placed in a prison hospital with a severe liver condition.

Kharionovskaya said Gaitukayev's body will be delivered to his relatives on June 13.

In 2014, Gaitukayev and Rustam Makhmudov, also from Chechnya, were sentenced to life in prison over the 2006 shooting death of Politkovskaya in front of her Moscow apartment.

Three other defendants in the case -- former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, and brothers Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov from Chechnya -- were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 12 to 20 years.

With reporting by Caucasian Knot