Russia: Lawyer's murder strongly condemned

Amnesty International has strongly condemned the murder in Moscow earlier today of lawyer and human rights defender Stanislav Markelov.

Mr Markelov was shot dead today in the centre of Moscow as he prepared to appeal again against the early release of a Russian former colonel jailed for the murder of a young Chechen woman. A journalist from the newspaper Novaya Gazeta was wounded in the same attack.

Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Programme Director Nicola Duckworth said:

“Stanislav Markelov’s murder is a despicable crime. The Russian authorities must take decisive steps to show that such crimes will not be tolerated.

“Silencing those who defend human rights and work to uphold the rule of law is absolutely unacceptable.”

Amnesty International has expressed sympathy for the family of Stanislav Markelov and is urging the Russian authorities to investigate the murder promptly, fully and objectively.

Among other high-profile cases he worked on, Stanislav Markelov was the lawyer of the family of 18-year-old Chechen woman Kheda Kungaeva, who was abducted, raped and strangled to death in March 2000.

Colonel Yuri Budanov, who was imprisoned for the murder, was released early last week (15 January), despite an appeal filed by Stanislav Markelov. Over the last week Mr Merkelov had received numerous death threats for his work on behalf of the family of Kheda Kungaeva.

Background

Amnesty International has worked with Stanislav Markelov on several cases, defending those whose human rights had been violated. In 2004, the organisation campaigned on his behalf after he had been attacked, beaten and had documents stolen relating to his work on behalf of the family of Zelimkhan Murdalov, a young Chechen man, who was subjected to torture and enforced disappearance by Russian law enforcement official Sergei Lapin. Stanislav Markelov was also working on behalf of anti-fascists who had become victims of hate crime.

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