Monday, January 19, 2009

Human Rights Lawyer, Journalist Shot Dead in Russia

While we celebrate...

MOSCOW — A human rights lawyer who fought the early release of a Russian colonel who had killed a Chechen woman was shot dead in central Moscow on Monday by a masked man using a pistol with a silencer, officials said. A journalist who tried to intervene also was gunned down.

(Below: 2007 photo of Anastasia Baburova, a journalist who was shot Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, along with a human-rights lawyer on a Moscow street, released by Novaya Gazeta. Novaya Gazeta editor Sergei Sokolov said Anastasia Baburova, a freelance journalist who had worked for the paper, died on the operating table hours after Monday's shooting.)
The broad-daylight shootings of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova prompted grief and outrage in a country where lawyers and journalists who challenge the official version of justice are frequently targeted. It also sparked anger among Chechens, already upset by the release of last week of Col. Yuri Budanov.

Colleagues drew comparisons with the 2006 killing of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya — a client of Markelov's and a fellow enemy of rights abuses in Chechnya and across former President Vladimir Putin's Russia. More here.

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