Norwegian NGOs ask Russian parliament to appoint a commission after the murder on Anna Politkovskaya

Norwegian organizations for journalists, publishers,  freedom of expression and human rights are shocked by the news of the murder of renowned writer and journalist Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow last Saturday.  The organizations strongly condemn the murder.

The murder reflects the state of lawlessness that is threatening the Russian press.  Russian prosecuting authorities must carry out a real investigation in order to establish who is behind this murder.  Norwegian NGOs also ask the Russian duma (parliament) to appoint a commission, as they did after the Beslan-tradegy two years ago, in order to look into the persecution of human rights activists in Russia.

The organizations behind this statement  trust that Norwegian authorities will closely monitor the Russian authorities´ further investigation, as minister of foreign affairs Jonas Gahr Støre has clearly expressed.

Anna Politkovskaya worked for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta and established her reputation through controversial reports about human rights abuses carried out by Russian troops in Chechnya.  She showed remarkable courage in being able to produce challenging journalism from a lawless region where she had to face threats from Chechen bandits and Russian or Chechen government death squads.

Through books and articles, Politkovskaya gave her readers insight and knowledge about a war we otherwise would know little about.  In spite of threaths and persecution, she continued her information campaign.  For this work she was awarded a number of international prizes, among them the Freedom of Expression Prize from the Norwegian Writers´ Union (2003).  Several of her books are available in Norwegian.

The organizations signing this statement hereby express their grief and compassion to Anna Politkovskayas children, family, friends and colleagues.

Oslo, 10. October 2006

Norwegian PEN
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Union of Journalists
Human Rights House Foundation
Norwegian Writers´ Union
Norwegian Publishers´ Association
Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers´ and Translators´ Association
International Press Institute, Norway
Norwegian Editors´ Association
Amnesty International Norway

A Russian version of this statement is available upon request.