Thursday, February 14, 2013

Russia: More than a year later, Russian journalist's murder remains unsolved


Committee to Protect Journalists By Elena Milashina/CPJ Moscow correspondent

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a CPJ Blog post: 

Gadzhimurad Kamalov, founder of the independent daily Chernovik, was murdered in Makhachkala, capital of Russia's southern republic of Dagestan, on December 15, 2011. The slaying was brazen, coming on the national Day of Remembrance for journalists killed in the course of their work. The late-evening assault took place outside Chernovik's newsroom, located on Makhachkala's Magomed Gadzhiev Street. Equipped with numerous security cameras, the street is a throughway for government motorcades, including that of the regional president. Nobody moves undetected there. But Kamalov's slaying is yet to be solved.

Investigators believe two guns were used in the killing, although it is unclear how many people were involved in the deadly assault. The identities of the assailants and masterminds have yet to be revealed.

What is clear is what investigators have failed to do.

Investigators have not found a weapon. They concluded that two guns were used after examining bullet casings collected at the murder scene, and bullets that Kamalov's family members handed to forensics experts after extracting them from his body during traditional ablution at a local mosque. No autopsy was conducted; Kamalov was buried on the day of his death per Muslim tradition.

Investigators failed to retrieve recordings made by the dozens of security cameras set up in multiple locations on Magomed Gadzhiev Street. Chernovik's journalists did this on their own initiative. The images were of poor quality, however, and investigators could not identify the license plates of the suspected getaway Lada sedan, regional police sources with access to the case file told CPJ.

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