On 10 September 2007, PEN reported that, after almost a year with little news of the progress of the investigation into the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, the arrests in late August 2007 of ten suspects should be an indication of progress. Yet questions have been raised about the conduct of the investigation with claims that it is being “politicised” and that leaks and confusion surrounding the case has undermined confidence that justice will be found. There has been no significant developments in recent weeks.
PEN welcomes the start of investigations into the killing of Anna Politkovskaya while noting concerns about lack of transparency, procedural flaws and apparent political bias. It maintains that the successful prosecution of those responsible for such deaths is the most effective means of demonstrating that such acts are not tolerated and those who do seek to silence their critics through assassination will not go unpunished.
In the days surrounding the anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s death, PEN Centres world wide are staging commemorations including in Antwerp, Barcelona, Basel, Frankfurt, Genoa, London, Oslo and Vienna. For details go to www.internationalpen.org.uk/index.php?pid=33&aid=683&type=current
Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist for Novaya Gazeta was killed outside her home in Moscow on 7 October 2006. A renowned critic of the Russian army human rights abuses in Chechnya and of the corruption that is endemic in Russia, Politkovskaya was a thorn in the side of the authorities. She suffered harassment, threats and even an alleged poisoning attempt before she was murdered. The Committee to Protect Journalists has recorded 13 reported “contract killings” of journalists during the President Putin’s term. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, only three of the killings have resulted in arrests and trials.
PEN has long campaigned against killings of journalists in Russia. Following her death, International PEN centres world-wide have staged events and raised publicity commemorating the life of Anna Politkovskaya. PEN continues to call for justice to be done for Politkovskaya and all others murdered in the practice of their right to freedom of expression in Russia.
PEN members are called on to send letters to President Putin in Moscow as well as the Russian embassies in their own countries in the days surrounding the anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s death. These appeals should:
• welcome that an investigation into the murder of Anna Politkovskaya is under way although noting that there are concerns about the way it is being carried out;
• urge that the investigation be carried out in a manner that is transparent and free from bias so as to ensure true justice is found
• point out that it is only through full, proper and fair trial that will provide assurances that the Russian government is ready to address the impunity that the killers of the many other journalists who have died for their reporting apparently enjoy in Russia today.
His Excellency Vladimir Putin
President of the Russian Federation
Fax: 7 495 206 5137 or 7 495 206 6277
HE Mr. Yury Viktorovich Fedotov
Fax: 0207 727 8625
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/russiaannapolitkovskayaanniversaryappeals/