At least one assailant shot Akhmedilov, 32, in his car on
the outskirts of the Dagestani capital,
Akhmedilov, known as Malik, was deputy editor of the
Makhachkala-based daily Hakikat (The
Truth) and a chief editor of the political monthly Sogratl, named after his native village. Both are published in
Avar, the language of the largest ethnic group in the volatile, multiethnic
Zulfiya Gadzhiyeva, a Hakikat
colleague, told CPJ that the editor sharply criticized federal and local
officials for suppressing religious and political dissent under the guise of an
“anti-extremism” campaign. In Sogratl,
Akhmedilov called on regional authorities to investigate the 2008 police
killing of a Sogratl resident whom law enforcement agents said was a guerrilla
fighter. The journalist was also known for his investigative reporting into the
recent assassinations of Dagestani officials, the Russian service of Radio Free
Gadzhiyeva, who visited the crime scene and met with Akhmedilov’s wife and neighbors, said witnesses saw at least one killer in a parked Lada sedan with tinted windows and no license plates in the editor’s neighborhood. When the journalist left in his car for an errand, the Lada followed and at least one gunman fired, she told CPJ.
Akhmedilov’s neighbors said they had seen the same Lada parked in the neighborhood for at least two days prior to the killing, Gadzhiyeva told CPJ. Akhmedilov did not report receiving any threats, she said.
The Dagestan Investigative Committee, the region’s top investigative office, opened a probe into the murder, the agency reported on its Web site. News reports said investigators initially focused on the journalist’s private life rather than his journalism.