Moscow City Court on Wednesday began the merit hearing of the criminal case over the murder of Novaya Gazeta observer Anna Politkovskaya in October 2006 in the absence of the offended parties and their lawyers. The case is being reviewed by a jury.
The injured parties stated their mistrust in the court and boycotted the Wednesday hearing. Their representatives did not turn up either: Anna Stavitskaya, who is on holiday outside Russia and Karina Moskalenko, who is participating in a session of the Strasbourg court.
However, judge Pavel Melekhin opened the trial regardless of this.
On Tuesday, the children of the murdered journalist said they viewed the trial as illegal, because they "did not select the jurors" and were deprived of the right to lodge petitions.
In a statement placed on the website of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, Vera and Ilya Politkovsky said judge Melekhin had refused to meet their petition to postpone the hearing to next week, despite the fact that he had been notified that the injured parties would not be able to attend in banc.
They asked for postponement until July 29.
The injured parties said the judge's decision violated their rights. The Politkovskiye also urged the panel of jurors to withdraw from the trial. Meanwhile, all the jurors turned up for the Wednesday hearing.