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IFJ Marks Fourth Anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya Murder by Call for Justice

October 7, 2010

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today marked the fourth anniversary of the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya by urging the Russian authorities to ensure justice for her and her long-suffering family and colleagues.

"Her killer has been named but not caught, his alleged accomplices have been put on trial but acquitted, and those behind her murder appear to have got away scot-free ," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The way her murder has been handled is an indictment of the Russian justice system. Her family and friends have endured much distress and frustration and it is time to put an end to this."

The IFJ says the recent announcement by Russia's chief investigator of plans to re-examine 19 deaths of journalists since 2000 is a positive development but must be backed up by real deeds tackling the instigators of murders such as that of Politkovskaya in 2006, not just the perpetrators. The Federation also calls on the authorities to re-open not only the most famous and widely known cases but also the targeted killings of journalists in regions of Russia far from Moscow or the North Caucasus.

Politkovskaya, a prominent journalist for the Novaya Gazeta and a specialist in exposing human rights violations who voiced criticism of Kremlin policy in Chechnya, was gunned down outside her flat four years ago today. Two men suspected of helping to organise her murder were acquitted in February 2009.

In its on-going campaign against impunity for those who attack journalists in Russia, the IFJ will keep up the pressure for a successful investigation of these murders and attacks and for open and fair trials of all accused of taking part in such violence.

The goal of the campaign is to encourage zero tolerance for violence against journalists, whatever form it may take - threats, attacks or targeted killings. Having examined the deaths of journalists in Russia since the early 1990s with its Russian partners, the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), the Glasnost Defence Foundation (GDF), and the Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations (CJES), the IFJ is now focusing not only on bringing the killers to justice but on preventing attacks and tackling the widespread threat of violence. In December the Federation will publish a study of assaults on journalists in Russia since 2005. This shows that, if trials are now held in more than half of all killings, only one in ten of these non-fatal attacks lead to judicial hearings.

"It is time for violence to cease being an option," added White. "We need protection for journalists and justice for the victims and it's time for the authorities to get this message."

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: + 32 2 235 22 07

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