NEWSLINK: Who Ordered Politkovskaya’s Murder?
[“Who Ordered Politkovskaya’s Murder?” – New York Times editorial – June 10, 2014]
The New York Times comments on the recent convictions of five additional men for involvement in the 2006 assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya:
Almost eight years after the gruesome murder of Anna Politkovskaya, one of Russia’s most respected investigative journalists, Moscow’s highest criminal court has finally sentenced five men to prison, two of them for life. The court ruled Monday that these men were part of a conspiracy to assassinate Ms. Politkovskaya in her apartment block …
The commentators point out that those convicted are not the masterminds in the plot, and that the case will never be closed until the identities of the ultimate conspirators are revealed, and justice is brought to bear:
The five men, and one former policeman convicted earlier, were merely hired guns, carrying out somebody else’s orders … fulfilling what is believed to be a $150,000 contract … the Politkovskaya murder case will not be closed until the person or persons who ordered this crime are identified and fully prosecuted.
Politkovskaya was known for coverage of the Chechen conflict and human rights abuses in Chechnya, as well as staunch, courageous criticism of Vladimir Putin and Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov. Concerns have been raised that the investigation could be thwarted if important personages are implicated:
Ms. Politkovskaya wrote vividly about human rights abuses in Chechnya and was known for her fierce and fearless criticism of both President Vladimir Putin and his handpicked Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. … Among Ms. Politkovskaya’s supporters, there is a good deal of concern that whoever ordered this hit is too important or too well connected to be prosecuted.
The editorial raises overall concerns about how poorly Putin, and Russia, are responding to the murders of journalists. One source ranks Russia tenth worst in the world, in terms of failing to prosecute and convict those who assassinate journalists and other news-gatherers.
Whether Russia fully resolves the Politkovskaya case also will impact perceptions of whether Russia has successfully and adequately established Rule of Law.
One of Politkovskaya’s survivors has likewise voiced the need to prosecut and convict those who ordered her killing:
… as Ms. Politkovskaya’s son, Ilya, made clear after the sentencing on Monday, “I will be satisfied only when the person or people who ordered this will be sentenced.”
[featured image is file photo from past demonstation]