Journalist Kim Wall Killed on a Civilian Submarine

Update: 24 Jan 2018 No state reply yet
Year 25 Aug 2017 Country Denmark Category Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
25 Aug 2017 Denmark Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 1
No state reply yet

Freelance journalist Kim Wall (30) was reported missing on 10 August 2017 after she failed to return from a trip aboard a Danish civilian midjet submarine, the US3 Nautilus, with its inventor Peter Langkjær Madsen. The journalist was interviewing the Danish submarine builder for a feature at a time of her disappearance. Mr Madsen was arrested on 12 August under the suspicion of causing Wall's death in connection with her disappearance. After initially claiming he had dropped her safely near Copenhagen, later reportedly told investigators that she had died in accident and he had buried her at sea. On 23 August, 2017 the Danish police identified a headless torso found off the waters of Copenhagen as Kim Wall confirming the death of the journalist. Kim Wall, a graduate from Columbia University’s school of journalism, had worked for many news organisations including the Guardian, the New York Times and the South China Morning Post.

Updates

24 Jan 2018 : On 16 January 2018 Peter Madsen was formally charged by the Danish prosecution with premeditated killing, sexual assault and improper handling of a body. The trial is scheduled to start in Copenhagen on 8 March.

Follow-ups

25 Aug 2017 : Killing of Swedish journalist Kim Wall points at threats faced by journalists, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media says.

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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

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