Russia: New report shows journalists and activists being murdered for their work

Five years after Anna Politkovskaya’s murder ‘climate of impunity’ hampers investigations

Five years after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, little progress has been made to increase the safety of journalists or human rights defenders who dare to expose abuses or challenge authority in Russia, as a new Amnesty report published today demonstrates.

While there has been some progress with the investigation into Anna Politkovskaya’s murder on 7 October 2006, there is still no guarantee that all those involved, including those who ordered her killing, will be brought to justice.

Meanwhile, as Amnesty’s 21-page report Beaten Up for Speaking Out shows, human rights defenders, journalists and civil society activists all face threats and harassment for their courageous work in uncovering human rights abuses and corruption within Russia.

Since 2006 a number of human rights defenders, journalists and human rights lawyers have been attacked and severely beaten or murdered. Only the murders of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova have been successfully investigated, and the perpetrators convicted. Other cases, including the abduction and murder of human rights defender Natalia Estemirova, and the brutal beatings of Kommersant Daily journalist Oleg Kashin and editor-in-chief of the newspaper Khimkinskaia Pravda Mikhail Beketov, remain unsolved.

Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director John Dalhuisen said:

“In Russia, journalists, human rights defenders and civil society activists are targeted and often murdered because of their work. This cannot be tolerated. Attacks are not being fully and impartially investigated and perpetrators are not being brought to justice.

“Unless and until such critical voices receive the recognition and protection they need - and are entitled to - Russia will not get the civil society it needs. In its place, corruption, the abuse of power and human rights violations will continue to flourish.

“Strong international support for and solidarity with civil society in Russia will be vital if we are to help change the climate of impunity and encourage positive changes.”

Amnesty continues to campaign for full and impartial investigations into attacks against human rights defenders, journalists and civil society activists in Russia.

  • Read the report:  Beaten up for speaki /strong> ng out /strong> (PDF)

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