Wednesday, October 20, 2021

US, EU urge Russia to find, prosecute mastermind in 2006 murder of journalist

The United States and the European Union have honored the memory of a Russian investigative journalist killed 15 years ago, demanding that Moscow bring justice to those who under pressure from the Kremlin killed independent journalists who continue their legacy. Praise was ordered.

In one of two statements released on Thursday marking the 15th anniversary of the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized what he called “continued punishment for those who ordered”. [her] Murder,” saying it undermines Russia’s freedom of expression, freedom of the press and broader human rights.

“We urge that all those involved in his murder be identified and held accountable for their crimes,” he said.

EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano said the 27-nation bloc “calls”[s] The onus is on the Russian government to ensure that everyone responsible for the murder of Anna Politkovskaya is brought to justice through an open and transparent judicial process.” He also referred to a 2018 decision by the European Court of Human Rights which said It was that Moscow had not done enough to find him, who had ordered his execution even after convicted many of the perpetrators.

Politkovskaya was shot and killed in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building on October 7, 2006. 48-year-old investigative reporter for the Russian Independent newspaper nova gazzetta Russia’s longtime president has been an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin.

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He rose to prominence in the 2000s for his coverage of human rights violations committed during Russia’s war with separatists in its constituent republic of Chechnya.

Her assassination coincided with the intensity of the Kremlin’s crackdown on freedom of speech and the press in Russia, recalled Ohio State University political science lecturer Jeffrey Trimble, who was then a senior manager at the VOA sister network Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. .

“This was the year, for example, that Voice of America and RFE/RL lost almost all of their local rebroadcast partners in Russia,” Trimble told VOA in an interview on Wednesday.

Both Blinken and Stano noted in their statements that Russia’s press freedom has recently been further weakened, with the government designating many independent journalists as “foreign agents” or “undesirable”. He said the US and the EU will stand in solidarity with journalists facing such pressure.

Speaking to Russian reporters on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said finding the mastermind of the contract killings was a difficult and lengthy process. He said the “inevitability of punishment” for such crimes was of great importance to Moscow.

Members of Reporters Without Borders demonstrate outside the Russian Embassy in Paris on October 6, 2021 to pay tribute to Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot dead in Moscow on October 7, 2006.

In 2014, a Moscow court convicted four Chechens, one of whom was a gunman, for their involvement in the Politkovskaya murder. A former Moscow police officer was also convicted of having an accomplice.

The Novaya Gazeta published an article on Wednesday, saying that under Russia’s statute of limitations, the murder mastermind would face a sentence of not more than 15 years after the crime was committed, unless a court ordered the term. did not increase. It vowed to prompt the government to revive its investigation and identify the mastermind.

The newspaper also posted a nearly two-hour documentary on its website with the findings of its investigation into the murder.

“Even with the crackdown on independent journalism in Russia, creative and brave journalists are finding a way to collaborate and work with their international partners,” Trimble said. “I hope that the Russian journalists who continue to investigate this [killing], along with international journalists who have other resources, may produce information that will compel the Russian authorities to take more definitive action to solve this crime.”

This article originated in the Russian service of the VOA. Some information for this report has been received from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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