Monday, December 19, 2011

Russia: Leading journalist Khadzhimurad Kamalov assassinated

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International is alarmed at the killing of prominent journalist and newspaper founder Khadzhimurad Kamalov on 15 December 2011 in Dagestan. Kamalov, who had previously been subject to numerous threats, was gunned down as he was leaving the offices of his newspaper by a masked assailant. PEN calls on the Russian authorities to ensure that a full and impartial investigation in conducted to ensure that those responsible for the assassination are brought to justice.

Khadzhimurad Kamalov, the founder of the independent weekly Chernovik, was reportedly shot up to fourteen times by a masked assailant outside the paper’s offices in the Dagestan capital, Makhachkala, as he left work shortly before midnight on 15 December 2011. The gunman reportedly fled the scene by car.

There has been a long history of harassment towards the staff of Chernovik, with five of its journalists being arrested on trumped-up charges of “extremism” between 2008 and 2011. The newspaper has frequently addressed highly sensitive topics in the southern republic of Dagestan, in particular reports of police abuses in neighbouring Chechnya. The Centre to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also states that, in a recent television interview, Kamalov had made critical comments about alleged regional government corruption.

Kamalov had reportedly received numerous threats since founding the paper in 2003. Writing in the British Guardian newspaper, the journalist’s former colleague Nadira Isayeva said she was not surprised that Kamalov had been murdered, claiming that “Throughout my seven-year association with Khadzhimurad Kamalov I have been waiting for this day. The day they killed him”.

Please send appeals:Condemning the assassination of journalist and newspaper founder Khadzhimurad Kamalov.
Calling for a full and impartial investigation into the murder, in particular examining whether the killing was the result of Kamalov’s journalistic activity
Calling on the Russian authorities to live up to their commitments to protect freedom of expression under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to ensure that threats against journalists are fully investigated as a matter of priority.

Send appeals to: Mr Dmitry Medvedev
President of the Russian Federation
Fax: 7 095 206 5173 / 230 2408

Mr Chaika Yuri Yakovlevich
Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Ishaya Dmitrovka 1 a GSP e
Moscow 12599 3
Fax 7 095 292 88 48

Please also send copies of your appeal to the Russian representative in your own country.
A full list of all Russian embassies and consulates worldwide, along with contact details, can be found at

**Please contact this office if sending appeals after 31 January 2012***

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