(07/10-2010) Today, on 7 October, it is four years since the prominent and courageous Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was shot and killed at the entrance of her apartment in Moscow. We remember Anna particularly for her commitment in Chechnya.
She gave a voice to victims and their families and faces to the conflict. Nobody has been able to fully take her place. Neither the murderers nor any possible assassin's paymaster have been convicted. In February 2009 a jury freed three persons charged with the murder. Investigators have announced that the investigation process will be prolonged until February 2011.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee monitors the situation in Chechnya and through the so-called anti- terror operations taking place in North-Caucasus the human rights violations continue with impunity. Enforced disappearances, torture and killings have spread from Chechnya to the neighboring republics Dagestan and Ingushetia. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Russia/North Caucasus is the third most dangerous place in the world for journalists to work in. Since year 2000, 18 journalists were killed in Russia due to their professional activity. In the absence of journalists, human rights activists in the region try to fill their place by providing information to the outside world. One of these was Anna’s friend Natasha Estimirova, who was killed on July 15, 2009. The investigation of her murder has also not brought any concrete results.
The death of Anne Politkovskaya, other journalists and human rights must be investigated thoroughly and those responsible for their deaths must be brought to justice. The loss of Anna is an open wound to the Russian people. We call upon governments to lift the situation in North-Caucasus high on the agenda and to urge Russian authorities to do their upmost to bring an end to conflict, impunity and human rights abuse.