Press release

Russia: Journalist Akhmednabiyev killed after authorities fail to protect

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ARTICLE 19

09 Jul 2013

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Dagestani journalist Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev was shot dead outside his home this morning, six months after a previous attempt on his life. ARTICLE 19 is saddened that despite widespread warnings regarding his safety, the authorities failed to properly protect him.

“We express our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev and call for an immediate, independent, federal-level investigation into his killing,” said Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director.

“It is particularly saddening that after already surviving one attempt on his life this year, the authorities have failed to provide him with the adequate protection that everyone has been calling out for,” she added.

“As well as investigating and prosecuting the perpetrator, the authorities also need to urgently review why they failed to protect him given that they knew he was facing such dangers.”

Akhmednabi’s car came under fire from unknown assailants at 7h00 on 9 July, 50 metres from his home in the village of Semender, Dagestan. He died immediately.

Akhmednabi escaped an earlier attempt on his life in January 2013, when four shots were fired at his car. A court decision established the charges should include attempted murder and ‘impeding the professional activities of a journalist’. Despite this decision the investigation continued on the basis of only minor charges and Akhmednabi was never interviewed.

Akhmednabi was deputy editor of local weekly magazine ‘New affair’ (Novoe delo) and a frequent contributor to independent news portal Caucasian Knot. He wrote about local politics and human rights violations committed by security services during counterterrorism operations.

His killing compounds the already unsafe environment for journalists in Dagestan and will undoubtedly cause journalists to further self-censor. The killing of Akhmednabiyev is the intentional silencing of one of the few voices speaking out about human rights violations in Dagestan.

The killing is the latest in a string of deadly attacks on journalists in Dagestan. Akhmednabiyev is the 17th journalist to have been killed in Dagestan since 1993. His name featured on an ‘execution’ list, published in Makchachkala in September 2009, by ‘Relatives of Policemen killed in Dagestan’ who accused human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society activists of supporting so-called Islamist insurgents and terrorists. 

The list identified eight journalists by name, and also included the name of Khadjimurad Kamalov, who was killed in December 2011. ARTICLE 19 noted in 2010, that the authorities had done little to investigate the origins of the list, and no one had been identified as its source.