Three men accused of involvement in the killing of Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya are acquitted after a trial mired in controversy.
Chechen brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov and former policeman Sergei Khadzhikurbanov were branded mere pawns from the outset by the family of the investigative journalist they allegedly helped to murder.
On Thursday a Moscow court cleared the brothers of tracking Anna Politkovskaya and the former policeman of providing technical help to her killers.
The lawyer for the brothers says justice has been done.
SOUNDBITE: Murat Musayev, defence lawyer for Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, saying (English):
"We can only stop these kind of crimes which take away the best of the people of this nation like Anna Politkovskaya, or Stanislav Markelov or Anastasia Baburova. The only way to stop these crimes to find the real criminals"
Politkovskaya's son says the family respects the jury's findings.
Lawyers for the family say the justice system has failed them.
SOUNDBITE: Karina Maskalenko, family lawyer, saying (Russian):
"We, representatives of the victims, demanded that our petitions were executed, that the victims had their rights in court. We looked to the courts, but no-one paid attention. The result: a not guilty verdict for all the people who the General Prosecutor accused of this murder. We want the real killers and we will get them."
Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead outside her Moscow flat in October 2006.
She had received death threats after accusing secret service agents of corruption and routinely abducting people, particularly in Chechnya and neighbouring regions.
She was also outspoken in her public opposition to President Vladimir Putin.
Another of the Makhmudov brothers, Rustam, is accused of firing the bullet that killed Politkovskaya.
He's on the run but has said he would surrender if a fair trial was guaranteed.
The latest twist in the saga leaves Russia's most politically-charged killing in years still unsolved.
It also does nothing to redress the nation's ranking by the U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists as the world's third most dangerous place for reporters to work.
Paul Chapman, Reuters
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