News from the Committee to Protect Journalists
CPJ welcomes conviction in journalist’s murder
CPJ welcomes a groundbreaking development for press freedom in Russia. A court in Tatarstan convicted five members of a criminal gang in the 2000 murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Igor Domnikov. CPJ noted the importance of the August 28 convictions, but urged authorities to vigorously prosecute the masterminds of the crime. It was the first time a court had convicted a suspect in a journalist’s murder since Vladimir Putin took office in 2000. During that time, CPJ research shows, at least 14 journalists have been slain in retaliation for their reporting.
In Politkovskaya case, a breakthrough and confusion
After months of international pressure, including extensive efforts by CPJ, Russian authorities claimed a breakthrough in the October 2006 assassination of another Novaya Gazeta reporter, investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. On August 27, Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika announced the arrests of 10 suspects. CPJ welcomed news of the arrests, but called for a transparent investigation and for authorities to publicly disclose evidence of the suspects’ involvement. CPJ’s caution was warranted–within days, the case began to fray. Three suspects were freed because of an apparent lack of evidence, and the widely respected chief investigator was effectively demoted.
A CPJ delegation traveled to Moscow in January to urge authorities to do more to track down Politkovskaya’s killers. In a meeting with Foreign Ministry officials, a spokesman told CPJ that Russia’s prosecutor general had opened a criminal investigation into several police officials in Chechnya in connection with the murder.
Writer freed from mental hospital after CPJ letter
CPJ helped stir international outrage with its August 14 protest letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin about a particularly brutal press freedom violation. Opposition activist and writer Larisa Arap was held against her will in a psychiatric hospital for 46 days, apparently in retaliation for her critical reporting on the harsh medical practices used at the facility.
CPJ welcomes release of four journalists
While most of the jailed journalists have been acquitted, pardoned, or otherwise freed, at least two remain imprisoned for their reporting. Several of those who were released have fled to Kenya in fear of further government persecution. CPJ is concerned by the government’s attempt to reinstate genocide and other charges against nine journalists acquitted in April.
This year, the Committee to Protect Journalists named Ethiopia the world’s worst backslider on press freedom .
In the UNITED STATES:
Slain editor Chauncey Bailey recalled at service
CPJ helps place Iranian online journalist at CUNY
During a 2004 crackdown on Iranian bloggers and Internet reporters, Mirebrahimi was arrested and detained along with three others. International pressure helped lead to their release after two months in prison, and Mirebrahimi fled with his wife in 2006. He is being tried in absentia in Tehran. Roozbeh now lives in New York and still runs his blog.
The New Yorker Festival to benefit CPJ