2009 21/01

Станіслаў МаркелаўStanislav Markelov, famous Russian lawyer, was assassinated in the center of Moscow on 19 January.

Markelov was member of the Interrepublican Bar and founder of the Institute of the Supremacy of Law. He has provided legal assistance in a number of cases after the violent break-ups of demonstrations in Minsk and worked as an observer in the 2001 presidential election. The lawyer participated in a number of notorious trials of abuses by Russia’s army in Chechnya, crimes against journalists and anti-Fascist activists.

Among high profile cases he worked on, Stanislav Markelov was the lawyer of the family of Chechen girl Kheda Kungaeva, who was abducted, raped and strangled to death in March 2000. Colonel Yuri Budanov was sentenced for the murder.

In 2004 Markelov was beaten up by unknown persons in the Moscow underground. The police refused to investigate the case.

Markelov was also the lawyer of a number of Russian journalists, including Anna Politkovskaya, assassinated in the center of Moscow in 2006.

According to www.welt.de, ‘on the day of the assassination, the 34 year old Markelov appeared at a press conference, speaking against the early release of former colonel Yuri Budanov. Budanov was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2003 for the brutal rape and murder of the Chechnyan girl Lisa Kungayeva. The former tank regiment commander was released from prison on the 15 January. Markelov, who represented the family of the victim, announced at the conference that he was considering challenging Budanov’s early release in an International Court. Following the press conference, shortly after 2 pm, the lawyer walked with 25 year old journalist Anastasia Baburova, writer for the newspaper”Novaya Gaseta“ for which Anna Politkovskaya also worked, down Pretshistenka Street in the direction of the underground station”Kropotkinskaya.“ The culprit followed the pair, pulled a mask over his head and shot Markelov with a silenced pistol in the throat and then at the nape of the neck. The lawyer died immediately. Baburova also received a gunshot wound at the nape of her neck but survived only to die later that evening in hospital.

After Monday’s horrifying double-slaying, Moscow detectives launched a search for the approximately 180 cm tall culprit who brutally murdered the lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in broad daylight before the eyes of thousands of witnesses. So far the search has not turned up one trace.

Markelov worked for a number of human rights organizations, including Moscow Helsinki Group and the Memorial Foundation.

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