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Archive for Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Human rights lawyer, journalist fatally shot

January 20, 2009

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— A Russian human rights lawyer renowned for his work on abuses in Chechnya was shot to death Monday by a masked gunman who followed him from a news conference, officials said. A young journalist who tried to intervene also was gunned down.

The broad-daylight shootings of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova prompted grief and outrage in a country where lawyers and journalists who challenge the official version of justice are frequently targeted.

Markelov had fought the early release of a Russian colonel whose killing of a Chechen woman in 2000 put names and faces on the gruesome rights abuses in the war-wracked region. His death Monday angered many Chechens, already upset by the release last week of the military officer.

Colleagues drew comparisons with the 2006 killing of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya — a client of Markelov’s and a fellow enemy of rights abuses in Chechnya and across former President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

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