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Four years on, IPI recalls unsolved murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya

Four years after Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya was shot and killed by an unknown assailant in the elevator of her apartment building in Moscow her killers have yet to be brought to justice. Repeatedly criticised by rights groups over its handling of the case, the Russian government recently announced it was reinvigorating the investigation, and those involving 18 other unsolved murders of journalists in the country.

There have been a total of 19 unsolved journalist killings in Russia, since Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, according to rights groups.

Politkovskaya enjoyed prominence for her critical exposure of the Vladimir Putin regime, as well as her investigative coverage of the war in Chechnya. Her work earned her numerous journalism awards including the Olof Palme Prize for human rights work in 2004. IPI also posthumously honored Politkovskaya as one of its World Press Freedom Heroes in 2007.

Politkovskaya was reportedly writing a story regarding the use of torture in Chechnya at the time of her death. She had received death threats before her murder, and family and colleagues are certain her death was related to her politically critical work as a journalist.

Four men were tried for her murder before the Moscow District Military Court in October 2008, but were later acquitted on 19 February, 2009, due to insufficient evidence. Although the case has been reopened, the assassins remain at large.

IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills said: “Words are not enough. It is imperative that Russia take concrete steps to bring to justice the killers not only of Anna Politkovskaya, but of all the other journalists murdered in recent years. As long as a culture of impunity exists, the door remains wide open for killers to strike again and again.”

According to IPI’s Death Watch, 15 journalists have been killed in Russia since 2005, making it Europe’s most dangerous country for journalists. Most recently, on 21 May, 2010, Sayid Ibragimov, director of local TV station TBS, was gunned down along with his team of repairmen, after gunmen set off a bomb in front of his vehicle before opening fire.

Date posted: October 7, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 57