A remembrance ceremony is taking place in Moscow today for prominent Russian lawyer Stanislav Markelov and "Novaya gazeta" journalist Anastasia Baburova, who were shot to death
by an unknown assassin in Moscow on January 19.
The president of the Russian Lawyers Guild, Gasan Mirzoev, told RFE/RL's Russian Service that Markelov is the seventh member of the guild to be assassinated for his professional activities.
Markelov worked as the lawyer for the family of a Chechen girl who was murdered by a Russian Army officer, Yury Budanov, in 2000.
Budanov was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2003 but was granted early release on January 15 by a court, 18 months before his sentence was due to end.
Markelov had said he planned to appeal Budanov's release.
In a statement, Amnesty International condemned Markelov's murder, calling it a "despicable crime"
and saying he was "very possibly murdered for his professional and courageous work to defend human rights."
Amnesty said the Russian authorities must take decisive steps to show that such crimes will not be tolerated.
The Amnesty statement was issued before the death of Baburova, who died in hospital after trying to intervene in the attack against Markelov.
Meanwhile, about 2,000 protesters gathered today in the freezing cold in Grozny, Chechnya, to voice their grief and anger at the killings, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.
The protesters held placards that read "Russian Justice Is Under Fire" and "Murderer's Impunity Led To New Murder."
Demonstrators demanded a thorough and urgent investigation of the killings and called on Chechen authorities to name a street in Grozny after Markelov.