Russia's well-developed security apparatus has the investigative and judicial capacity to prosecute suspects in the 14 unsolved murders of journalists that took place there in the past decade, at least by the account of its own leadership. In a televised announcement in January 2014, Investigative Committee chief Aleksandr Bastrykin boasted that 90 percent of homicides in Russia are solved. It's true that the Kremlin has made progress, though long delayed, with convictions in the case of Anna Politkovskaya. Yet, in other cases where journalists are the victims, investigations have a tendency to taper off, particularly when they point toward politically uncomfortable suspects. Few cases showcase this pattern more than the murder of the prominent human rights defender and journalist Natalya Estemirova.
When Mick Deane was killed in Egypt on Wednesday, he became the 1,000th journalist documented by CPJ as having died in direct relation to his work. The photos above, a sampling of those who have died over the past 21 years, serve as a powerful reminder of the cost of critical, independent journalism.
Last week, I was preparing to write a column about the anniversary of Paul Klebnikov's murder. The American editor of Forbes-Russia was murdered contract-style nine years ago in Moscow at the age of 41. He had investigated connections between Russian business and organized crime, as well as ethnic and political tensions in Chechnya. Despite numerous official promises to solve the July 9, 2004, killing, Klebnikov's murderers--as well whoever ordered him killed-- are still nowhere near the dock.
Every second crime committed in Russia goes unsolved, President Vladimir Putin said Friday, addressing a conference of the nation's high-ranking Interior Ministry officials. "The low crime-detection rate and impunity for the criminals do not serve justice but undermine public trust in law enforcement agencies, as well as the state per se," Putin said, according to his website.
New York, October 4, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns threats against Tanya Lokshina, a leading Russian researcher and writer known for her work documenting human rights abuses in the North Caucasus. CPJ calls for an urgent, thorough, and effective investigation that tracks down all responsible.
Shortly after the May 7 presidential inauguration of Vladimir Putin, the Russian parliament passed four major bills in record time--all of them meant to counter the protests that first erupted in the country in December 2011.
Three years ago this week, Natalya Estemirova, a contributor to the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and a local staffer for the Moscow-based rights group Memorial, was murdered in the North Caucasus, Russia's volatile region, where she was famous for her work as a defender of human rights.
Russian investigators have adopted a more serious tone when discussing unsolved journalist murders, but officials still lack the will to apprehend masterminds of the killings. The lack of convictions takes a serious toll on investigative journalism. By Nina Ognianova
Two years ago, as she was leaving home on a hot Wednesday morning in Grozny, several attackers forced Natalya Estemirova, the prominent journalist and human rights defender, into a car. A young witness--who later fled for fear of reprisal--recalled that Estemirova cried out she was being kidnapped and that a white Lada sedan then sped off. Estemirova's body was found a few hours later, ditched along a road near the village of Gazi-Yurt in neighboring Ingushetia.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.