Statement on the Murder of Russian Journalist Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
July 11, 2013

The United States strongly condemns the July 9 murder of Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, Novoye Delo’s chief political correspondent in the Russian Federation republic of Dagestan, and extends its deepest sympathies to his family and co-workers.

Mr. Akhmednabiyev had been subject to repeated threats and earlier attempts on his life, after his name was on a list, distributed throughout Makhachkala in 2009, threatening him and eight other journalists. Khadzhimurad Kamalov, founder of the Chernovik local newspaper, whose name was also on this list, was similarly gunned down in Dagestan in 2011.

We echo the alarm expressed on July 9 by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, at the murder of another Russian journalist and welcome today’s statement by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation saying the case will be handled with the highest priority, given that the murder may have been motivated by Mr. Akhmednabiyev’s professional activities.

The United States remains deeply concerned about violent attacks against journalists in the Russian Federation, particularly those representing independent media outlets.  We agree completely with Representative Mijatovic’s statement that, “Despite pledges at the highest level, too many cases of killings of journalists remain unsolved, which has an enormous chilling effect on the media community.”

We believe the murder of Mr. Akhmednabiyev once again clearly demonstrates the need for the OSCE to strengthen protections for journalists in our region.  We call upon all participating States to join us in making the safety of journalists a top priority for Human Dimension action as we progress toward the Ministerial Council meeting in Kyiv in December.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.