New York, August 11, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns
the slaying in Dagestan today of Abdulmalik Akhmedilov, an editor known for his critical commentary, and urges Russian authorities to thoroughly probe
journalism as the motive. Akhmedilov, 32, left, was shot in his car at around 1 p.m. local time on the outskirts of Dagestan's capital,
The Dagestan Investigative Committee, the region's investigative office, has opened a probe into the murder, the agency reported on its Web site.
Akhmedilov, known as Malik, was
deputy editor of the Makhachkala-based daily Hakikat (The Truth) and a chief editor of the political monthly Sogratl. Both newspapers are published
in Avar, the language of the largest ethnic group in the volatile, multiethnic
In columns in Hakikat, Akhmedilov sharply criticized federal forces and local law
enforcement for suppressing religious and political dissent under the guise of an
"anti-extremism" campaign, Zulfiya Gadzhiyeva, a Hakikat journalist, told CPJ. The campaign is ostensibly designed
to curb the spread of the conservative form of Islam known as Wahhabism, which
has gained popularity in Dagestan and other
According to the Russian service of
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Akhmedilov was known for his investigative
reporting into the recent assassinations of
"We express our deepest condolences
to Malik Akhmedilov's family and colleagues. Russian authorities must thoroughly
examine the possible connection between the journalist's work and his brutal
murder," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator
Gadzhiyeva, who visited the crime scene and met with Akhmedilov's wife and neighbors, said at least one killer was parked in the editor's neighborhood in a Lada sedan with tinted windows and no license plates. When Akhmedilov left home in his car for an errand, the Lada followed and at least one gunman fired, Gadzhiyeva told CPJ.
Gadzhiyeva told CPJ that Akhmedilov's neighbors had seen the same Lada parked in the neighborhood for at least two days prior to the killing. Akhmedilov did not have any business interests; journalism was his sole occupation, she said.