Monday, 19 January 2009

Stanislav Markelov

I'm very saddened and angry at yet another news item, concerning a champion of human rights in Russia (news via diVERse).

Russian lawyer Stanislav Markelov (Станислав Маркелов) was shot in Moscow this afternoon. Moscow-born Markelov was only 34 years old. He was in the company of a journalist, possibly from Novaya Gazeta, who was seriously injured in the attack. He had been involved in many notable court cases, such as the attempted murder of the journalist Michail Beketov, and he was most famous for his work as a lawyer of the family of a Chechnyan woman who was raped and murdered by a Russian colonel. The ex-colonel has recently been released after serving 8,5 years of his 10-year sentence. Markelov had been voicing criticism against the early release, thereby angering nationalist groups. Very few Russian officers have been punished for violations of human rights in the Chechnyan conflict, and it's very difficult for victims to make their case against the entire machinery of the military system.

I have only the deepest respect and admiration for the brave men and women who go on fighting for equal justice in the face of ruthless force and blind patriotism. They are the true heroes of war. Articles by Stanislav Markelov and other legal activists can be found at the website of The Rule of Law Institute (Институт верховенства права) in Russian and English.

More in the news: Reuters - BBC - Novaya Gazeta


Rozmin said...

I believe I heard about the case you're referring to. Didn't the government pressure the doctor who did the autopsy into retracting his statement that the girl had been raped? And the parents didn't even find out about that until after the trial?

News about Chechnya never really made it into the mainstream U.S. media, with the exception of the school hostage situation ...

It really is a shame. Such a handsome young man! And it always pains me when good lawyers--those who are fighting to protect people and their rights from governments that have become too powerful--are taken down. They seem to be a minority anyway!

ainur said...

The journalist who was with him died later at the hospital. Radio Free Europe