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Steinmeier condemns killing of Russian human rights activists

20.01.2009

Yesterday Russian human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova were murdered in the street in Moscow. Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement condemning these murders in Berlin today (20 January):

"I am shocked by yesterday's murders of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova. The Federal Government condemns this cowardly act in the strongest terms.

Stanislav Markelov was a respected and courageous lawyer who was committed in particular to seeking justice for victims of human rights violations in Chechnya. He also defended journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in 2006, in court. The young journalist Anastasia Baburova worked for the same newspaper as Anna Politkovskaya, the Novaya Gazeta. Yesterday both Markelov and Baburova became the victims of a brutal act of violence committed in broad daylight.

Such acts of violence against lawyers and journalists along with arrests and attacks create a climate of fear and threaten to undermine civil society engagement. The Russian authorities must investigate these murders immediately, find the perpetrator and masterminds, and punish them."

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