Russia: Anna Politkovskaya deserves justice

On 7 October 2006, renowned Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in her apartment building in Moscow. Eight years later, English PEN continues to call for justice to be done

PEN has been campaigning for justice for Anna Politkovskaya, a courageous journalist and fierce critic of Vladimir Putin, since she was shot dead for her reporting on human rights abuses and corruption in Russia on 7 October 2006.

After several years and a lengthy retrial, in May 2014 five men were finally convicted of having been involved in Politkovskaya’s murder, including three who had been acquitted in a previous trial. In June 2014, all five were sentenced to prison terms, with two receiving life sentences.

Whilst welcoming this significant development, PEN and the wider international community remain gravely concerned that those responsible for ordering the killing have not yet been brought to justice.

The stature of Anna Politkovskaya grows every day. She continued her extraordinary work as a writer and as a journalist despite facing incredible danger and hardship until her tragic and brutal death. She understood the true power of words, she served truth and she did not back down –she is a symbol of freedom of expression against the current trend of repression in Russia. The authorities in Russia must do everything they can to ensure that all those involved in her death face justice – Carles Torner, Executive Director of PEN International.

We are continuing to call on the Russian Federation to demonstrate its commitment to justice and to freedom of expression by identifying and convicting those who masterminded the assassination.

TAKE ACTION

Send letters of appeal

Please send letters of appeal calling on the Russian authorities to demonstrate its commitment to justice and to freedom of expression by identifying and convicting those who masterminded the assassination.

Appeals to:

His Excellency Dr Alexander Vladimirovich Yakovenko
The Embassy of the Russian Federation
6/7 Kensington Palace Gardens, London, W8 4QP
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7727 8625
Email: press@rusemb.org.uk

A sample letter is available below, but please do write a more personal letter if you have time.

Share details on  social media

Join us in calling for justice for Anna Politkovskaya. For those of you on Twitter, please include the hashtag #Politkovskaya and copy in President Putin @PutinRF_Eng and English PEN @englishpen where possible.

Please let us know of any action you take by emailing cat@englishpen.org

Background

Born in New York City in 1958, Anna Politkovskaya was a journalist, author and human rights activist. She received her Diploma in Journalism from Moscow State University in 1980 and worked on a number of newspapers as a correspondent and editor, including as special correspondent for the Russian twice-weekly newspaper Novaya Gazeta, one of the few independent newspapers in Russia. She had a particular interest in Chechnya, and wrote extensively on the subject, including in her remarkable book A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya (Harvill, 2001). Her 2004 book Putin’s Russia was the first ever recipient of an English PEN Writers in Translation grant, and was later awarded the inaugural PEN Literature in Translation Award, which marked the closing of the fifth anniversary celebrations of our Writers in Translation programme. Anna’s sister accepted the prize on her behalf:

Anna’s children and I were very thrilled to hear about this new award. It means that Anna’s books have a life of their own. We want to thank the committee for choosing Putin’s Russia. We consider this award another sign of recognition of Anna’s tremendous efforts to tell the world about what was going on in Russia.

An excerpt of Putin’s Russia is available on the English PEN website, and you can buy copies through our World Bookshelf.

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Your Excellency

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to join the call for justice for murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

PEN has been campaigning for justice for Anna Politkovskaya, a courageous journalist and fierce critic of Vladimir Putin, since she was shot dead for her reporting on human rights abuses and corruption in Russia on 7 October 2006. After several years and a lengthy retrial, in May 2014 five men were finally convicted of having been involved in Politkovskaya’s murder, including three who had been acquitted in a previous trial. In June 2014, all five were sentenced to prison terms, with two receiving life sentences.

Whilst welcoming this significant development, PEN and the wider international community remain gravely concerned that those responsible for ordering the killing have not yet been brought to justice. I therefore join English PEN in calling on the Russian Federation to demonstrate its commitment to justice and to freedom of expression by identifying and convicting those who masterminded the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya.

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely

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