19 January 2009, 22:00

Human rights activists are shocked by Markelov's murder

Stanislav MarkelovRussian human rights activists are shocked by the murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov, who worked in the cases of Budanov and "Cadet" related to murders of peaceful Chechen residents.

"Hatred to journalists - we've already got accustomed to it. But lawyers... When two lawyers are ruling the country, it's just inadmissible!" Oleg Panfilov, head of the Centre of Extreme Journalism, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

"It's very difficult for me to speak. I knew him very well, and I worked with him. Death of such people like Markelov is a shame for our country," Liudmila Alekseeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, told the "Interfax".

"He was quite a young man yet, an extremely selfless person, with his civil position. As an advocate, he took the cases, which bring no profits, but in which human rights activists are interested," said Ms Alekseeva, leader of the oldest Russian human rights organization. According to her words, Markelov had small children.

Natalia Estemirova, an employee of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" believes that Markelov's murder is declaration of war. Now the state should decide on whose side it is.

She has also stated that after Markelov had lodged complaints against Budanov's conditional early relief, he received threatening messages with the texts like the following: "You, a brainless animal... You've again got into Budanov's case??!!! Dipshit, couldn't you find a quieter way of suicide??? Hurry up now to transplantology centre, maybe someone will use your organs; then you'll die not in vane... Maybe they'll even give you money... Have you indeed decided to make this year better by liberating us from your presence?!."

According to Alexander Cherkasov, a member of the HRC "Memorial", "this was an exclusive murder of an exclusive person."

"Markelov was advocate in meaningful Chechen cases - Budanov, 'Cadet' Lapin, disappearance of Salikh Masaev. He also was in the Blagoveshchensk case of 2004. In late 1990s in forged cases on terrorism they even tried to attract his as a witness not to admit his participation as an advocate," Mr Cherkasov told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

Henry Reznik, Chairman of the Moscow Bar, was indignant with the "impudent murder" of lawyer Markelov. "For a long time already advocates are a group of risk here - they are periodically attacked and murdered. Each such case shall be viewed as an emergency," Mr Reznik said to the "Gazeta.Ru".

Oleg Shein, a deputy of the Astrakhan City Assembly from "Spravedlivaya Rossiya", said in his interview to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that he had known Stanislav Markelov for many years.

"Markelov ran a huge number of cases, as a rule, connected with illegal actions of the authorities. We got acquainted with him five years ago, when in Elista demonstrators were beaten, and one person was lost. Then, we managed to achieve replacement of the public prosecutor and relieve those who took part in the actions from persecution. There were many more episodes later. The last time we communicated with Stanislav Yurievich in Malmo, Sweden, where he was moderator of the Caucasian section of the European Social Forum. Markelov actively helped delegates from Abkhazia and South Ossetia to prepare their presentations, as a result of which we managed to change the opinion of European delegates on the Ossetian war. And then he took Kungaeva's case," said Mr Shein.

Author: Anastasia Kirilenko; Source: CK correspondent

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