IFJ joins call for raising to the federal level the investigation into the killing of Russian journalist

On the second anniversary of the murder of Dagestani journalist Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), together with other media freedom organisations, has signed a joint letter this week calling for the investigation into his murder to be urgently raised from the regional level to the federal level.

Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, deputy editor of independent newspaper Novoye Delo and a reporter for online news portal Caucasian Knot, was shot dead on 9 July 2013 as he left for work in Dagestan, a region of the Russian Federation. He had actively reported on human rights violations against Muslims by the police and Russian army and had been subject to numerous death threats including an assassination attempt in January 2013, the letter said. The investigation, led by the local Dagestani Investigative Committee, has been repeatedly suspended for long periods. Two years after his killing, neither the perpetrators nor instigators have been brought to justice.

A first appeal was made last November to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation to raise the case to the federal level but, to date, there has been no official response.

“We call on Russian authorities to remove our colleague Akhmednabiyev’s case form the hands of local investigators and prioritizing it at a federal level to ensure impartial, independent and effective investigation so the perpetrators of this shameful killing can finally feel the full force of the law,” said the IFJ President, Jim Bomelha.

The Northern Caucasus region of Dagestan is one of the most dangerous places for journalists. According to the Dagestan Journalists’ Union, 16 journalists have been murdered for their journalist activity in the region within the last 20 years.

“As well as ensuring impunity for his murder, such inaction sets a terrible precedent for future investigations into attacks on journalists in Russia, and poses a serious threat to freedom of expression,” the letter adds.

The IFJ supported its Russian affiliate the Russian Union for Journalists (RUJ) and the Dagestani union in their campaign against impunity, including the documentary ‘The Word and the Bullet,’ a tribute to the memory of these 16 killed journalists and a call for their cases to be finally brought to justice which was screened with the IFJ participation last month in Brussels. 

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