March 01, 2009

Murder in Broad Daylight

in january, defense lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Novaya Gazeta journalist Anastasia Baburova were shot point-blank by a masked gunman on Prechistenka Street in central Moscow.

Markelov was widely known as a lawyer who took “dangerous” cases, including several tied to Chechnya. Most recently, he was representing the Kungayev family in their appeal of the early parole of former Army Colonel Yury Budanov. Budanov was convicted in the summer of 2003 of strangling the family’s 18-year-old daughter, Elza, during the second Chechen war. Budanov had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder, but was paroled in early January, leading to protests across Chechnya. Markelov was shot on his way back from a conference where he had spoken about the Budanov case.

Markelov had represented Novaya Gazeta in a number of cases in recent years, working on the case of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, and representing newspaper editor Mikhail Beketov, who was recently beaten into a coma for trying to protect a nature reserve in Khimki.

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