Russian Activist Lawyer Poisoned by Mercury

Ill, she misses hearing on journo's murder
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2008 8:09 AM CDT
Russian Activist Lawyer Poisoned by Mercury
Human rights lawyer Karinna Moskalenko speaks in her Strasbourg office. Mercury pellets were found in her car before she was to attend a hearing concerning the murder of a Russian journalist.   (AP Photo/Christian Lutz)

French police are probing the mercury poisoning of Russia's leading human rights lawyer, the New York Times reports. Toxic pellets were found in the car of Karinna Moskalenko in Strasbourg. She had been due to attend the Moscow trial of men accused of involvement in the murder of her late client, activist journalist Anna Politkovskaya—but was prevented by vomiting and headaches.

Politkovskaya, an investigative journalist who exposed human rights abuses in Chechnya, was shot dead in Moscow two years ago in what Vladimir Putin critics said was part of a vicious Kremlin crackdown on dissenters. Moskalenko said the murder was never properly investigated. A preliminary hearing into the killing went ahead behind closed doors yesterday after a judge rejected a request to delay it because of Moskalenko's illness.
(More Anna Politkovskaya stories.)

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