Journalist Murdered in Dagestan

Journalist Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev was murdered early in the morning of 9 July, close to Makhachkala in Dagestan, Russia. Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev was a local correspondent of the news portal Caucasian Knot and the weekly Novoe delo. Civil Rights Defenders expresses our deepest concern over the murder of Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev and call on the Russian authorities to immediately initiate prompt and correct investigations into the case.

“We are deeply worried about the lack of safety of journalists and other human rights defenders in Dagestan and other parts of the North Caucasus,” said Robert Hårdh, Executive Director, Civil Rights Defenders. “They work amid a culture of fear, which is fuelled by violence and killings. It is high time for Russian authorities to take serious measures to protect human rights defenders in the region”.

Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev was one of few journalists in Dagestan that dared writing about human rights violations and other crimes committed by authorities. In May 2012 he reported that he received threats directed against him. Later on, in January 2013, he was subject to a murder attempt, when unknown assailants tried to shoot him. At that time Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev survived without any injuries.

Today’s murder of Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev is the second killing of a journalist in Dagestan in a short period of time and represents yet another serious blow to independent journalism and freedom of speech in the republic of Dagestan. The publisher of the weekly newspaper Chernovik, Gadzhymurad Kamalov, was shot dead near the newspapers’s office on December 15, 2011. There is a clear pattern of increased violence and threats towards human rights defenders and journalists in Dagestan.

“We urge the local and federal Russian authorities to immediately ensure prompt and correct investigations of the murder of Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev,” said Robert Hårdh. “In accordance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, Russia must take all necessary measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and contribute to an environment in which human rights defenders can work safely.”