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Klebnikov Murder Still Unsolved

Klebnikov Murder Still Unsolved
Klebnikov Murder Still Unsolved

Four years ago this month, Paul Klebnikov, then editor of Forbes Russia magazine, was gunned down outside his Moscow office. The perpetrators of this heinous crime remain at large.

In May 2006, two of those charged with the murder of Mr. Klebnikov were acquitted by a Russian jury. Since then, they have been recharged, which is permitted under the Russian judicial system. But the case has languished, as police say they cannot locate one of the suspects.

In a statement marking the anniversary of the murder, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, the U.S. is "disappointed by delays in bringing Paul Klebnikov's killers to justice. We encourage the government of Russia, said Mr. McCormack, "to redouble its efforts to resolve this case and hold the perpetrators responsible. We reiterate our readiness to provide assistance to Russian authorities in bringing the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice," said Mr. McCormack.

Russia continues to be a risky place for reporters. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, business, official corruption, and human rights abuses are among Russia’s most dangerous beats. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that fourteen reporters have been murdered with impunity since 1998.

Among them was the well-known investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, shot in her apartment building in 2006. The manner in which her murder case has progressed is disturbing. Prosecutors charged three men, but said nothing about the actual alleged killer.

"The intimidation, attacks on, and murder of journalists," said U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, "is an affront to all who value democratic values and must not be tolerated."

Russian president Dmitri Medvedev has said he would prosecute "to the end" all cases of slain journalists. The U.S. would welcome such action as demonstrating a renewed Russian commitment to media freedom and democracy.