UN calls on Russian authorities to probe killing of Dagestani journalist

20 December 2011

Two United Nations agencies today called on Russian authorities to conduct an independent and transparent investigation into the recent murder of journalist Khadzhimurad Kamalov in Dagestan and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mr. Kamalov, the founder and editor of the independent weekly newspaper Chernovik, was shot dead on 15 December as he was leaving his office. He was also the executive director of the Svoboda Slova (freedom of expression) organization.

His killing is the latest in a series of attacks against journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers in Russia, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Mr. Kamalov had reported extensively on alleged abuses by the police and other human rights violations in Dagestan, OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

“His murder sends a chilling message to journalists seeking to cover such issues,” he added.

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), condemned the killing and urged the authorities to ensure that those responsible are brought to trial.

“Fear must not be allowed to muzzle media professionals, deny reporters the basic human right of freedom of expression and bar citizens from accessing information,” she stated in a news release.

Mr. Kamalov is reportedly the fourth journalist killed in Russia this year, according to sources quoted by the International Press Institute.

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