December 17, 2018

Press Freedom

Russian Federation

OPC Hopes Arrest of Politkovskaya Plotter Brings Justice At Last

H.E. Dmitri Medvedev
President
Russian Federation
Fax: (011.7.495) 206.6277/ 5173

H.E. Vladimir Putin
Prime Minister
Russian Federation
Fax:  (011.7.495) 206.4622, 205.4219

Your Excellencies:

We are encouraged by this week’s arrest of a new suspect in the murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist, Anna Politkovskaya.  Our hope now is that this arrest will, finally, lead to the apprehension of the organizers behind her murder in October 2006.

As we understand it, retired Lt. Col. Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov is charged with leading the gang of killers who murdered Politkovskaya at her home five years ago.  According to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Pavlyuchenkov received payment for organizing the journalist’s assassination with his brothers, Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov — both of them previously acquitted of the murder charge in February, 2009.  A third brother, Rustam Makhmudov, was arrested on May 31 and indicted on June 2 as another suspected gunman.

Amazingly, Pavlyuchenkov worked as the head of surveillance at Moscow’s Main Internal Affairs Directorate at the time that he allegedly organized Politkovskaya’s murder.  From what we were told, he used his position to order surveillance of Politkovskaya and to subsequently acquire the gun used to kill her.

If there is any encouraging news in this arrest, it is the Investigative Committee’s report that it “has information of the suspected mastermind of the crime.  However, the investigation considers publicizing this information to be premature.”

We share the hope of our colleague, Sergei Sokolov, deputy editor of Novaya Gazeta, that the arrest of Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov will be the event that leads to the identification of those who ordered Politkovskaya’s killing.  As Sokolov put it in an interview this week, “When not only low-level executors but the suspected organizers and the suspected gunman are on trial, then we can have a serious prosecution that could lead to the finding of the mastermind.”

At long last, we hope, Anna Politkovskaya, her family and everyone everywhere who loves free expression will get justice for which they have waited five years.

Respectfully yours,
Kevin McDermott
Larry Martz
Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

H.E. Sergey V. Lavrov
Foreign Minister
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Moscow  121200
Russian Federation
Fax: (011.7.495) 244.3448

H.E. Sergey I. Kislyak
Ambassador of Russia to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20007
Fax:  (202) 298.5735

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
136 East 67th Street
New York, NY  10021
Fax: (212) 628.0252

H.E. John Beyrle
U.S. Ambassador to Russia
Embassy of the United States of America
8 Bolshoy Devyatinskiy
Pereulok
Moscow  121099
Russia
Fax:  (011.7.495) 728.5090

Andrey Vitalyevich Vasilyev
Editor-in-Chief
Kommersant Daily
4 Vrubelya Street
Moscow, Russia
kommersant@kommersant.ru

Aleksey K. Simonov
President
Glasnost Defense Foundation
4 Zubovskiy Boulevard, # 432
Moscow  119021
Russia
Fax: (011.7.495) 637.4947

Andrew McChesney
Editor-in-Chief
The Moscow Times
Ul. Polkovaya, 3, build. 1
Moscow  127018
Russia
mcchesney@imedia.ru

Maria Otero
Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C.  20520