Independent Journalist, Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, Shot Dead in Dagestan, Russia

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Year 02 Apr 2015 Country Russian Federation Category Impunity for murder Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , RSF Alert level Level 1
02 Apr 2015 Russian Federation Impunity for murder State EFJ/IFJ , RSF Level 1
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The deputy editor of the independent daily Novoye Delo and a correspondent of the Kavkazskiy Uzel news website, Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev was gunned down as he was leaving his home in Semender, a suburb of Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala, on 9 July 2013. According to media reports, Akmednabiyev was in his car, just 50 meters from his home, when the unknown attackers began shooting, killing him at the scene. The attackers then fled the scene in their car. There was no shortage of warning signs. In 2009, his name was on a hit-list circulating in Makhachkala that accused several independent journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers of colluding with Dagestan’s armed Islamists and threatened them with death to avenge the murders of policemen. One of these journalists was gunned down in December 2011. Known for covering human rights violations, corruption and the persecution of religious minorities, Akhmednabiyev had received many other threats and had narrowly escaped a murder attempt on 11 January 2013, when four shots fired in his direction only just missed him. Nonetheless, he was not given any protection after this shooting, which the prosecutor’s office did not even treat as a murder attempt. The investigation into the journalist's murder was closed a year later, on 30 July 2014, without any arrests. The appeals against its closure and the requests for the case to be transferred to the Russian federal authorities had no effect. It was only as a result of international pressure, that the decision to close the investigation was rescinded on 16 September 2014. This is an indispensable first step, but everything remains to be done.

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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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