IFJ Calls for Independent Probe Over Journalist's Death in Russia

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for an independent

investigation into the death of Sergey Protazanov, a journalist with

Grazhdanskoye Soglasiyel newspaper, who died on 31 March, reportedly after

being beaten up.

According

to the editor-in-chief of Grazhdanskoye Soglasiye, Anatoliy Yurov, Sergey was

attacked two days earlier in the town of Khimki, near Moscow and died later of

his injuries. The attack was reported by the victim's wife to the police who

allegedly failed to record the incident, reports say.

"It

is important that this tragic death is independently investigated and the

findings made public," said Aidan White,

IFJ General Secretary." Given the track record of Russian

authorities in previous investigations of journalists' murders, this will be a test

case for authorities to show transparency and professionalism if their claims

are to be believed by journalists and the public."

The

police authorities in Moscow

contest the family's account telling reporters that the journalist died of

poisoning and that "forensic experts have ruled out a violent death".

"There

is such a contradiction here that an investigation is needed," said White.

"When police claims fail to produce irrefutable evidence foul play cannot be

ruled out."

The

IFJ criticised the Russian justice

system for failing to prosecute the killers of Anna Politkovskaya, noting that

"a combination of shameful incompetence and official complacency have failed to

deliver justice to the Polikovskaya family and to her colleagues".

This followed the acquittal in February of three men charged with her murder.

The

death of Anastasia Baburova, a journalist for the investigative newspaper

Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper of  Anna

Politkovskaya, who was killed in January remains unresolved.

For further information contact IFJ on +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 123 countries worldwide