Russia frees suspect in Politkovskaya murder case

MOSCOW, May 26 (Reuters) - Russia has released a man suspected of involvement in the 2006 murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya because he was not directly involved in the shooting, his lawyer said on Monday.

"Tamerlan Makhmudov had been released," his lawyer, Laura Shambayeva, told reporters.

Makhmudov gave prosecutors a written undertaking not to leave the city and was set free last week.

He is the third suspect to be released in recent weeks out of nine people who have been linked to the murder, which sparked a wave of international condemnation.

Politkovskaya, a fierce Kremlin critic, was shot dead on Oct. 7, 2006, outside her Moscow flat. It was one of the highest profile murders of Vladimir Putin's presidency but the authorities have yet to put anyone on trial for the killing.

Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika last August said the murder was ordered from abroad by enemies of Russia to discredit Putin and undermine political stability in the country.

Chaika said then that an organised criminal group, led by an ethnic Chechen and including at least five serving and former Russian law enforcement officers, had carried out the murder.

Politkovskaya, a 48-year-old mother of two, attracted international fame by documenting human rights abuses by Russian security forces in Chechnya and the North Caucasus. (Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by David Fogarty)