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Russia9 November 2006

Supreme court overturns acquittal in murder of US journalist Paul Klebnikov

Reporters Without Borders voiced the hope that today’s decision by the Russian supreme court to overturn the acquittal of three men in the 2004 murder of US journalist Paul Klebnikov could open the way to more thorough investigation of the case.

Fail Sadretdinov, a Muscovite notary of Tartar origin and two Chechens, Musa Vakhayev and Kazbek Dukuzov, were acquitted for lack of evidence on 5 May, at the end of a jury trial before a Moscow assize court that began on 10 January. The prosecution filed an appeal against the verdict on 15 May. The supreme court’s ruling had been awaited since then. The three men will now be retried before a Moscow court.

“We welcome this encouraging ruling,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Our thoughts go out to the Klebnikov family and the efforts it has made to know the truth. We take this opportunity to remind the Russian authorities that the person or persons who gave the orders for this murder have still not been identified. We hope the retrial will the occasion for a much more detailed investigation into this fundamental aspect of the case.”

Peter Klebnikov, one of the journalist’s brothers, told Reporters Without Borders today: “This news shows that despite the delays and violations, the Russian system has the capacity to correct itself and justice could still perhaps be rendered.”

Reporters Without Borders supports his demand, and that of Richard Behar of the Project Klebnikov, for the next trial to be open to the public, as this is the only way to guarantee a transparent judicial process.

The editor of the Russian edition of the US magazine Forbes, Paul Klebnikov was gunned down outside his Moscow office on 9 July 2004.

Read about the trial

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