Concerned about progress of investigation into murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Georgiy Mamedov, The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Canada
Embassy of the Russian Federation in Canada
285 Charlotte Street
Ottawa ON, K1N 8L5

May 21, 2014

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE is concerned that those responsible for ordering the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 have still not been brought to justice. While CJFE applauds the May 20 conviction of five men who executed the killing, it is nonetheless troubling that the people ultimately responsible for orchestrating the murder of vocal Kremlin critic Politkovskaya remain unidentified.

On October 7, 2006, Politkovskaya was discovered shot dead in the lobby of her apartment building in Moscow. Politkovskaya had worked for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and was known for her sharp criticism of the Kremlin and her commitment to defending human rights. It has been speculated that her murder was related to her work, in particular her reporting on human rights violations in Chechnya. While CJFE commends the long overdue convictions dispensed on Tuesday, they fall short of genuine justice.

Politkovskaya’s murder is an example of the peril that often results from honest reporting about human rights and government corruption in Russia. According to Amnesty International, while those responsible for ordering Politkovskaya’s murder remain at large all journalists in Russia are at risk. Nine out of 10 murders of journalists in Russia are committed with impunity, and Russia ranks 148th out of 179 countries on Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index. Clearly, Politkovskaya’s case is but one representative example of a larger problem in Russia

CJFE strongly urges that the investigation to identify those who ordered the murder of Anna Politkovskaya be continued. Moreover, meaningful action must be taken to end impunity for attacks on journalists in Russia, with those responsible being brought to justice.

We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Amber, CJFE President
Cc: Mr. John Kur, Ambassador of Canada to the Russian Federation
The Honourable John Baird, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs