The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE) has condemned as "outrageous" the killing of Magomed Yevloyev, the publisher of ingushetiya.ru
, an independent news website in Russia's troubled Ingushetia region.
Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE's representative on freedom of the media, said Yevloyev's death
"is the culmination of an orchestrated campaign by the authorities of Ingushetia to silence the only critical voice in the region. Similarly to the 2006 murder of Anna Politkovskaya
, this assassination represents a further deterioration of media freedom in Russia."
Yevloyev -- an outspoken critic of Ingushetia's Kremlin-backed administration -- was detained on August 31 by local Interior Ministry officials at Magas airport as he was returning to Ingushetia from Moscow. The OSCE says the president of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov, was reported to have been on the same airplane as Yevloyev, and had a heated discussion with him during the flight.
According to police, Yevloyev was shot in the head "by accident" while being driven in a police car. He died in a hospital in Nazran.
"Yevloyev's website -- the last remaining independent news source in the region -- has repeatedly faced pressure from the authorities. Only two months ago, I protested against the legal harassment of ingushetiya.ru and warned that official persecution of free journalism could result in violence," Haraszti said.
He called on Russian authorities to "promptly and thoroughly" investigate Yevloyev's death and hold all those responsible accountable.
He said Russia must live up to its OSCE commitments and support, "rather than repress," free debate, free reporting, and media pluralism.