Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 10:56 GMT

Russia: Half a Decade, Half an Inquiry

Publisher Article 19
Publication Date 7 October 2011
Cite as Article 19, Russia: Half a Decade, Half an Inquiry, 7 October 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e94375c2.html [accessed 23 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Anna Politkovskaya was murdered five years ago on 7th October 2006, her case is emblematic of the dangers faced by journalists working in Russia. The renowned investigative journalist's violent death received world wide coverage yet no one has been convicted in connection to her murder. There is little hope that the impunity surrounding those who ordered the killing will be lifted.

"Anna Politkovskaya's murder sent shivers through the Russian journalistic community. The high profile nature of her case combined with the apparent lack of political will on the part of the Russian authorities to solve this crime has contributed to a pervasive climate of fear and impunity," said Dr Agnes Callamard, Executive Director ARTICLE 19.

In August 2011, a former high-ranking police officer, Dmitriy Pavlyuchenkov, previously called as a witness, was arrested on suspicion of having organised the shooting of Anna Politkovskaya in her apartment building in Moscow. As one of the latest developments in the investigation, his arrest is a positive step towards bringing those responsible to justice, nevertheless there is serious doubt as to whether he acted alone.

"It has taken five years to arrest one of the people that allegedly organised Anna's murder, will it take another five years for all those responsible for masterminding her murder to be brought to justice," continued Dr A Callamard.

Over the course of these five years, Russian authorities have continuously ignored repeated calls to make public all available materials forming part of the investigation. To date, no information has been made available about who might have ordered the murder.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the Russian authorities to bring to justice all those responsible for the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. As a state party to the European Convention of Human Rights, the Russian Federation has positive obligations in relation to the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to life. It should not wait another five years to realise these rights.

Copyright notice: Copyright ARTICLE 19

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