For Immediate Release: October 10, 2006
New York, NY – “The murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a prominent Russian investigative journalist and human rights defender is “a devastating loss for the cause of human rights in Russia,” said Maureen Byrnes, Executive Director of Human Rights First.
Ms. Politkovskaya’s body was found in her Moscow apartment building on October 7. She had been shot in a manner consistent with a contract killing.
Politkovskaya worked fearlessly to expose human rights violations occurring in the context of the conflict in Chechnya and the North Caucasus. Through her work she became an invaluable ally of local and international human rights organizations focusing on Russia’s human rights problems.
“Ms. Politkovskaya was a great journalist, but beyond that she was a dedicated and effective human rights defender,”added Byrnes. “She went out of her way to help victims of human rights violations.”
Human Rights First is calling on the Russian authorities to carry out a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation into Ms Politkovskaya’s murder, to identify those responsible and to bring them to justice.
The murder of Ms. Politkovskaya is a further indication of the increasingly dangerous climate for those who expose human rights violations in Russia. This intimidating climate is exacerbated by persistent official hostility towards the work of human rights organizations in Russia. The Russian government should make clear its unequivocal support for the work of independent human rights defenders in Russia.Human Rights First extends its deepest sympathy to Ms. Politkovskaya’s family, friends and colleagues in journalism, and the human rights movement.