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Amnesty Urges End To Impunity For Violence Against Rights Activists, Journalists In Russia

Anna Politkovskaya

Amnesty International is urging Russian authorities to end impunity for those who commit acts of violence against human rights activists and members of the media. The calls comes on the eve of the second anniversary of the murder in Moscow of crusading Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

“Human rights activists and journalists are the ones who bring to the public’s attention the failure of governments to live up to their promises of justice and rights protection made in national law and their obligations under international human rights treaties,” Amnesty said in a statement.

“However, it is the human rights activists and journalists in Russia who too often themselves face harassment by the authorities and even become victims of human rights abuses themselves.”

Amnesty highlights four unsolved cases from this year alone:

-- The disputed killing while in police custody in Ingushetia of Magomed Yevloyev, the owner of the independent website, on August 31.

-- Vandalism on August 14 against the flat where human rights activist Stanislav Dmitrievsky lives. Unknown assailants threw a brick through a window. No one was injured. The entrance of his apartment building was also covered with abusive language and threats.

-- An arson attack on August 1 on the flat of human rights defender Dmitri Kraiukhin in the town of Orel in the Central Russian Federal District. Kraiukhin was not at home at the time of the fire.

-- The abduction on July 25 of human rights activist Zurab Tsechoyev by armed men, thought to be federal law enforcement officials, from his home in Ingushetia. He was found hours later by the side of the road, severely beaten.

Politkovskaya herself was gunned down in her Moscow apartment building on October 7, 2006.

Amnesty notes her murderer is still at large and that no independent investigation has been conducted into those who may have ordered her killing.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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