The PACE General Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Whistleblowers, Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD), has condemned the Russian President for pardoning a man responsible for his participation in the 2006 murder of Anna Politkovskaya, an independent Russian journalist and human rights activist:
“I was shocked and disgusted to hear that one of the conspirators responsible for the murder of Anna Politkovskaya has received a presidential pardon from Vladimir Putin, in exchange for his participation in the Russian criminal aggression against Ukraine. Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a former Moscow police officer, was convicted in 2014 of taking part in the preparation of Ms Politkovskaya’s killing and sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment. This was only a small glimpse of justice, as the instigators and organisers of the assassination were not identified. Today, even this modicum of justice was taken away by the Putin regime, which continues to show its disdain for the rule of law and human rights.
With its decision to pardon Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, the Russian regime has extended its long and shameful record of attacking democracy and fundamental human rights.
I reiterate the Assembly’s repeated calls for the release of those who should have never been imprisoned in the first place: Alexey Navalnyy and Vladimir Kara-Murza. They are the ones who should be freed and not convicted criminals, responsible for the deaths of innocent human rights defenders, whose only ‘crime’ was their courage to stand up to a dictatorial regime.”