By National Press Club, Special for USDR
Following the sentencing this week of five men convicted of murdering a Russian investigative reporter in 2006, the National Press Club urged authorities in Russia to go further and uncover the individuals who ordered the contract killing.
Anna Politkovskaya, known for her hard-hitting reporting that revealed Kremlin corruption and human rights abuses, was found shot to death in her apartment elevator in October 2006. In the ensuing years, the Russian government has been criticized by press freedom groups for moving too slowly in its investigation into her assassination.
A Russian judge handed down long prison sentences on June 9 to five men, including hit man Rustam Makhmudov, for their roles in organizing and carrying out the killing of Politkovskaya. Yet the case against the men failed to shed light on who ordered the prominent journalist’s murder.
“The sentencing represents important progress in the fight to end a culture of impunity that has allowed far too many people to get away with attacking and killing journalists in Russia,” said Myron Belkind, president of the National Press Club. “However, until the individuals who took out the contract on Anna’s life are uncovered and prosecuted, she will not have true justice.”
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has documented 32 cases of “complete impunity” in the killings of journalists in Russia going back to 1992.
Politkovskaya was posthumously honored by the National Press Club in 2007 with its prestigious John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Award.
The National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. Through its Press Freedom Committee, the club monitors threats to press freedom worldwide.