One year since the murder of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova | Den norske Helsingforskomité

One year since the murder of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova

Today it is one year since the prominent lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova were murdered in the centre of Moscow.

Together with Amnesty Norway and the Human Rights House Foundation, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has today sent a letter to President Medvedev, urging him to ensure that the Russian authorities carry out a full thorough investigation of the killings of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, and bring all those responsible, including those who ordered the killings, to justice. President Medvedev should also guarantee that the trials are conducted in accordance with international standards for fear trial, and assure that the trials are open to the public. It is also of utmost importance, that the Russian president protects and guarantees the security of human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists, and make shure they can do their work without hindrance as stated in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply concerned about the growing numbers of attacks on journalists and human rights activists in Russia. There is a worrying pattern, that human rights activists deliberately are exposed to violations they themselves fight against, such as torture, abductions, threats and murder. On December 31 2009, another human rights activist, the 82 year old dissident and leader of the Moscow Helsinki Group Ludmila Alexeeva, was detained while she together with other public activists came to the Red Square to support a demonstration in favor of article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of assembly. Russian is ranked 153th out of 175 countries in the 2009 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) press freedom index. Russia fell 12 places from 2008. The reasons most important reasons for this are but growing censorship, lack of free of press, moral and physical pressure on independent journalists and human rights activists, and the atmosphere of impunity.