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Russia12 October 2006

Homage to journalist slain in Moscow - “Anna’s voice is stronger than ever”

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(JPEG) Reporters Without Borders reiterated its call for an international commission of enquiry at a rally yesterday in homage to slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya outside Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The rally, which drew about 1,000 people, was organised with Reporters Without Borders’ support by the France-Russia Association of Journalists, Students Without Borders and Politkovskaya’s many friends in Paris.

After a minute’s silence, Politkovskaya’s colleagues spoke of her professionalism and determination as a journalist. “They killed her in order to silence her, but we will do everything to ensure that her words are read and bear witness to her commitment to freedom,” said Vera Michalsky, her editor and friend.

Philosopher André Glucksmann spoke of the international impact of Politkovskaya’s work as a committed journalist and the reprehensible attitude of the European governments: “Anna Politkovskaya died for us, but also because of us, because we hardly listened to her and because the people we elected are unfailingly indulgent towards the Russian authorities.”

Fellow philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy said the Russian authorities must be held responsible for their attacks on press freedom. “When Vladimir Putin hears the words ‘free press,’ he pulls out his revolver,” he said.

Many other leading figures present extolled Politkovskaya’s qualities, and passages from her books were read out by singer Jane Birkin and actress Catherine Deneuve.

In concluding remarks, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said: “We are gathered here together with deep emotion to remember Anna Politkovskaya. Before speaking of our sadness and anger at her murder, we must stress that we will not forget her and we will keep pressing our demand for the full light of day to be shed on this horrible crime.”

Politkovskaya had worked for the biweekly Novaya Gazeta since 1999. She was supposed to hand in an article, with photos, about torture in Chechnya for today’s edition. It never arrived at the newspaper. In her last book, “Russia under Putin,” which was published this year in France, she not only criticised atrocities in Chechnya but also corruption and human rights violations in Russia.

Internationally acclaimed for her courage and professionalism, Politkovskaya, 48, was found dead in her apartment building in the centre of Moscow on the afternoon of 7 October. She had been shot several times.

Our special page "Justice for Anna"

Read our position paper in The Moscow Times

Listen to the interview with Anna Politkovskaya and Robert Ménard on the RFI site

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