Amid deepening controversy, judge Yevgeny Zubov has suspended the trial of three men suspected of involvement in the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya (photo).
The trial has been postponed for 10 days, after the judge came into dispute with both the jury and defence lawyers.
According to a BBC correspondent, the latest bizarre twist adds to the impression that this trial is seriously compromised.
The trial is already proving to be a farce, said supporters of the murdered Kremlin critic.
The judge had already surprised everybody on Monday, by ruling that the trial would be open to the public. Then two days later he reversed his decision, arguing that the jury had refused to appear in front of journalists.
Yet on Thursday a member of the jury called a Moscow radio station in order to deny any of them had made such a request.
They had objected to having TV cameras in court but not text journalists, said the juror.
And now, while the judge has suspended the case saying that defence lawyers are too busy, they are denying it.
State security agents were involved in the journalist’s murder, believe her supporters. That is why, according to them, they will never be a fair and open trial.
Ms Politkovskaya was one of the most vociferous critics of former Russian President Vladimir Putin, and was shot dead outside her Moscow apartment two years ago.
Former policeman Sergey Khadzhikurbanov and two Chechen brothers, Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, are the three men on trial. But all three are charged only with involvement in the plot. None of them is charged with either carrying out the murder of ordening it.