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Russia: Family of murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya await human rights court decision

Family members of the murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya, will find out tomorrow (17 July) whether they have won the backing of Strasbourg judges in their human rights complaint against Russia.

Mazepa and Others v. Russia (no. 15086/07)

The applicants are Raisa Aleksandrovna Mazepa, Yelena Stepanova Kudimova, Vera Aleksandrovna Politkovskaya and Ilya Aleksandrovich Politkosvkiy.

They are Russian nationals who were born in 1929, 1957, 1980 and 1978 respectively and live in Moscow. They are the mother, sister and children of the murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Anna Politkovskaya was shot and killed in the lift of her Moscow home in October 2006. She was a well-known investigative journalist who covered alleged violations of human rights in Chechnya committed during the second campaign against rebels in the region.

She was also a critic of President Vladimir Putin’s politics.

The authorities immediately began an investigation. A Makarov pistol and a silencer were found on the apartment building’s stairs. Four men – two brothers, a police officer and an FSB officer – were eventually indicted, tried and acquitted by a jury in February 2009.

After a further investigation, five men, including the two brothers and police officer originally tried, were indicted. They were convicted of the murder in May 2014.

The court found that one of the men had accepted an offer for a contract killing from a person who had been unhappy with Politkovskaya’s articles. The main organiser of the murder and the actual killer each received life sentences while the three other men were sent to jail for between 12 and 20 years.

Another man, a senior official in the Moscow City Department of the Interior, was convicted separately and in December 2012 he received a sentence of 11 years’ imprisonment.

He had earlier confessed to helping to organise the killing.

Relying on Article 2 (right to life), the applicants complain that the State did not carry out an effective investigation into Ms Politkovskaya’s murder as the authorities failed to identify who had commissioned and paid for the crime.

 

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