An assailant wearing a ski mask shot Baburova, 25, a
freelance correspondent for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, at around 3 p.m. on a downtown street within walking
distance of the Kremlin. Baburova had just covered a news conference at which
prominent human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov fiercely denounced the early
prison release of a Russian army officer convicted in the March 2000 abduction
and murder of a Chechen girl. The lawyer and journalist had just left the Independent Press Center,
where the news conference was held, and were chatting as they strolled outside.
The assailant shot Markelov in the back of the head
with a pistol fitted with a silencer, the independent business daily Kommersant reported, citing sources
in the Prosecutor General's office. Baburova apparently tried to stop the
killer, who walked past her after shooting Markelov; the man then shot her in
the head, Kommersant reported, citing
unnamed witnesses. Markelov, 34, died immediately; Baburova died several hours
later in a Moscow
hospital, where she had undergone surgery, the independent news Web site Lenta reported.
Baburova was a journalism student at Moscow
and had contributed to Novaya Gazeta since
October 2008, covering the activities of neo-Nazi groups and race-motivated
crimes, which had been on the rise in Moscow,
Deputy Editor Sergei Sokolov told CPJ.
On April 28, 2011, a jury at the Moscow City Court declared two
radical nationalists--Nikita Tikhonov and his common-law wife, Yevgeniya
Khasis--guilty in the double murder, local and international
press reported. Russian investigators had arrested the
two in November 2009.
Tikhonov was found guilty of killing Baburova and
Markelov as well as illegal appropriation and possession of firearms and forgery of personal identity documents. Khasis was found guilty of being an accomplice in
the murder and of illegally possessing firearms. Sergei Sokolov, deputy editor of Novaya Gazeta, told CPJ the newspaper was satisfied with the verdict but hoped additional accomplices would be brought to trial. Tikhonov was sentenced to life imprisonment and Khasis to 18 years in prison.
Job: Print Reporter
Beats Covered: Human Rights
Local or Foreign: Local
Type of Death: Murder
Suspected Source of Fire: Unknown Fire
Taken Captive: No
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- Two sentenced in Baburova murder in Russia, May 6, 2011
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