19 January 2009, 18:00

Ponomaryov: Markelov received threats before being murdered

Stanislav Markelov, advocate of the Kungaev family, was shot dead today point-blank in the centre of Moscow. Yesterday, he took part in the press conference held at the Independent Press Centre on early release of former colonel Yuri Budanov from the colony, where he served his term for murdering Chechen girl Elza Kungaeva.

Human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that the assassinated advocate Stanislav Markelov received anonymous telephone calls with threats of execution, having clarified that Markelov himself had told him about it on Friday, January 16. According to the advocate, the calls started to arrive immediately after it became known to the press about his intention to appeal against the release of ex-colonel Yuri Budanov.

"He was on his way from the press conference on Budanov's CER, thus, the trace for the investigation should be obvious. But he was also one of the sharpest advocates in Russia. He defended victims in murder cases of anti-fascists in Moscow. Markelov was the most well-known advocate in Russia who stood against Nazis. Nazis' websites placed threats to his life, it is absolutely true," said Ponomaryov.

The human rights activist has added that "the investigation should have two versions. Firstly, revenge for Budanov. Probably, the killer was at the press conference, and what he heard there forced him to shoot. The murder in the crowded place doesn't look like properly prepared." In his opinion, the second version is related with the revenge of Nazis.

Head of the HRC "Memorial" Oleg Orlov: "We are shocked. We all knew him by a number of cases - we cooperated in the Blagoveshchensk case. We grieve. So far, there's no official reaction. It'll come later."

Anastasiya Baburova, a student of the Journalism Department of the Moscow State University and journalist of the "Novaya Gazeta", who received a gunshot wound in her head during Stanislav Markelov's murder, died later in the hospital, as the source of the "Caucasian Knot" has reported.

"Anastasiya died without coming to consciousness," Sergey Sokolov, chief editor of "Novaya Gazeta", has confirmed.

According to Mr Sokolov, the lady-correspondent could receive the wound in her head in two cases: either she tried to stop the criminal, when he was shooting at Stanislav Markelov, or the criminal shot directly at her, the "Gazeta.Ru" writes.

Author: Anastasia Kirilenko; Source: CK correspondent

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