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Free expression advocates in Russia and around the world held tributes and protests on 7 October to mark the first anniversary of the brutal slaying of crusading journalist Anna Politkovskaya, report the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations (CJES), Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontieres, RSF) and news reports.

In Moscow, opposition leaders braved heavy rain to address about 1,200 protesters, who accused the authorities of failing to solve her murder. According to the "Guardian", protesters carrying pictures of Politkovskaya chanted, "We won't forget and we won't forgive!"

Politkovskaya, a renowned Kremlin critic who exposed human rights abuses by Russian forces in Chechnya, was shot in the entrance to her residence in Moscow on 7 October 2006. Ten people, including police and government officials, were arrested in August in connection with the killing, but at least two have been released. The investigation has not established who planned the murder.

CJES, which had issued thousands of posters and stickers of Politkovskaya, reports that in St. Petersburg several protesters were arrested for "damaging public property" by putting up stickers on public buildings.

Twenty-metre-high banners of Politkovskaya prepared for the day were not displayed in Russian cities as was hoped, CJES director Oleg Panfilov says, as "people were too afraid." Several banners were sent to Paris, London, Helsinki and New York for vigils there.

In Paris, RSF displayed photos of President Vladimir Putin and Politkovskaya alongside 18 coffins, representing the 18 journalists killed in connection with their work in Russia since Putin took power in March 2000.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and Amnesty International used the anniversary to renew calls for a thorough investigation into her death and an end to impunity. An online tribute to Politkovskaya is available on Amnesty?s website:

CJES is asking that protest letters be sent to Russian embassies rather than Russia directly. "The Russian government is more scared about her case being acknowledged internationally," says Panfilov.

Visit these websites:
- RSF:
- IFJ:
- WAN:
- "Guardian":
(9 October 2007)

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