Russia: Journalist and Human Rights Lawyer Slain in Double Murder

This week, human rights attorney Stanislav Markelov and young journalist Anastasia Barburova were murdered in Russia. Snip from Index on Censorship statement, who are calling for an investigation, along with PEN:

The crime is compounded by the knowledge that Russia has a culture where impunity reigns – and murderers are rarely brought to justice. Even in the case of a journalist as famous as Anna Politkovskaya, after a rare two-year murder investigation it is the alleged accomplices who are on trial – while the murderer remains at large.

Stanislav Markelov was well known for his work as a human rights lawyer, particularly in Chechnya. Markelov represented the family of 18-year-old Kheda Kungayeva, who was murdered by Yuri Budanov – the first senior officer to be convicted of human rights abuse during the Chechen campaigns. Markelov had announced that he would be challenging Budanov's early release last week.

Those who are brave enough to expose human rights abuses in Russia risk their lives. Over the past few months, victims have included Umar Israilov, a Chechen who claimed that he had been tortured by President Ramzan Kadyrov and had filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights. He was shot dead in Vienna last week. Last November, Mikhail Beketov, a local newspaper editor, was assaulted in the Moscow suburb of Khimki and left in a coma. Beketov had been a fearless critic of the local administration. Last summer, Magomed Yevloyev, who owned the website and also bravely exposed abuses, was shot dead in a police car as he was being taken away for questioning.

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