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Russia27 July 2006

President Putin urged to take account of US Senate resolution on Klebnikov murder

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Reporters Without Borders today hailed a US senate resolution adopted yesterday condemning the July 2004 murder of US journalist Paul Klebnikov in Moscow and calling on the Russian government to pursue its efforts to identify those who gave the orders and to accept help from the United States and other countries with the investigation.

The resolution, numbered “S.RES. 526,” was submitted by senators Hillary Clinton and Sam Brownback. It follows a recent resolution by the House of Representatives that also condemned the murder of Klebnikov, who was the editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine.

“The adoption of this second resolution by the US congress brings hope to all those relatives and colleagues who want to see those responsible for this murder brought to justice,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Russia cannot turn to deaf ear to a US request to continue with the investigation into the murder of a US citizen on Russian territory.”

The press freedom organisation added: “An international enquiry would be the best way to focus efforts in the search for those behind this murder, who have never been identified although two years have gone by. We urge President Vladimir Putin to take account of the US resolution by quickly appointing an international commission to investigate the case.”

The six-point senate resolution calls on the Russian authorities to continue to go after all those parties who could have been involved in the murder. It insists on the need to identify those who gave the orders and it urges Russia to accept held from foreign governments.

It also calls on the Russian authorities to involve those journalists who have carried out their own investigations into the murder. It refers in particular to the ‘Project K’ group of US journalists formed in 2005, who claim to have established that the person alleged by the Russian authorities to have been the instigator, Khozh Akhmed Nukhayev, in fact died prior to the murder.

Together with Reporters Without Borders, Project K plans to present its findings at a conference to be held in Moscow in the autumn.

Klebnikov was gunned down outside his Moscow office on 9 July 2004. The trial of two Chechens who were alleged to have carried out the killing, Mossa Vakhayev and Kazbek Dukuzov, and an alleged accomplice, Fail Sadretdinov, an lawyer of Tartar origin, began in Moscow on 10 January of this year. It ended with their being acquitted by a jury on 5 May. Prosecutor Dmitri Shokhin appealed on 15 May against their acquittal on the grounds of irregularities.

The person identified by the Russian authorities as the instigator of the murder was never arrested. Disturbing information suggests that he was no more than a convenient scapegoat.

Reporters Without Borders publishes the text of the US senate resolution, S.RES.526, below.

PDF - 32.6 kb

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