Andras Hamori and Mark Horowitz's recently launched H20 Motion Pictures has acquired the rights to three books by Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist who was shot to death in a suspected contract killing in Moscow in Oct 2006.

H20 will develop a film about the woman, who was a bold and steadfast critic of Vladimir Putin's presidency. Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer who died of poisoning four weeks after Politkovskaya, accused Putin of personally ordering her assassination.

The three books are A Russian Diary, a searing indictment of the Putin presidency, Putin's Russia, about life under the regime and A Severed Head, her final unpublished manuscript which is a personal journey into the violent southern province of Chechnya.

Politkovskaya, who was the mother of two children, received numerous death threats throughout her career and in 2004 was poisoned en route to help in negotiations with the hostage-takers in the Beslan school siege. She was also detained and beaten by Russian troops who buried her alive for three days without food or water and subjected her to a mock execution.

'It is difficult to overstate the importance of a film based on Anna Politkovskaya's life,' said Hamori, who optioned the rights from her literary executor Toby Eady with Karolina Sutton at ICM. 'Her writings deal with universal themes of freedom of the press and the newly westernized states' struggle to rise to the challenges of democracy, but most importantly how world politics can reach into one's living room and destroy a private life.'