Washington – Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Co-Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) expressed sorrow and outrage after learning of the killing of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Ms. Politkovskaya was found dead after being shot outside of her apartment.
“The murder of Ms. Politkovskaya, clearly a contract killing, is a devastating blow to journalism and civil society in Russia – an incalculable loss,” said Senator Brownback.
“This murder of one of the most prominent journalists in Russia is a chilling reminder of the fragile façade of political and social stability in Russia. I call on the Russian authorities to conduct an immediate, thorough, and transparent investigation of this murder that will find not only those who carried out the attack, but also those who ordered it,” added Senator Brownback.
“Ms. Politkovskaya faced death threats in the past yet she bravely continued her calling,” said Rep. Smith. “Her testimony on Chechnya at a 2003 Helsinki Commission hearing reflected both her professional excellence and her deep commitment to humanitarian values. Her outstanding contribution to journalism and the cause of human rights will be deeply missed.”
“Truth in journalism is a commodity with an immense price tag in today’s Russia,” said Commission Ranking Member Rep. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD). “The assassination of Anna Politkovskaya places in jeopardy the life of every journalist in Russia who attempts to tell the truth about events in that country.”
In 2003, Ms. Politkovskaya was awarded the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly Prize for Journalism and Democracy for her reporting from Chechnya, where she exposed the brutal methods used by some elements of the Russian military forces against Chechen civilians.