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Anna Politkovskaya was an outstanding woman, devoted writer, and Human Rights activist. On October 7th 2006, a group of cowards assassinated her because they were afraid to face the truth. She was murdered because she exposed the crimes of the Russian government. Throughout the years Politkovskaya had been tracked down, followed, and investigated but that did not discourage her. Even after several failed assassination attempts, she kept going because she knew that she possessed a gift that was no match for the Russian government. She had the gift of writing, and wrote about the facts. Anna revealed the secrets that government tried kept hidden, and exposed their evil deeds. Even though her life was at stake she never gave up, she knew that it was her duty to keep the world informed. The world will never forget her. We salute Anna Politkovskaya.

Eagle / www.JusticeForNorthCaucasus.Com Updated October 9th 2006

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Reporter: My Chechen Sources Were Killed

posted by Justice For North Caucasus - Anna Politkovskaya. on August, 2004 as Anna Politkovskaya

Reporter: My Chechen Sources Were Killed
Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya has said that many of the residents of Chechen villages who complained to her in February that paratroopers from a nearby base were kidnapping villagers for ransom were later killed by the military in retaliation.
"Those who spoke openly to me, ignoring any [possible] consequences, are not alive any more," Politkovskaya wrote in this week's issue of the newspaper.
"They disappeared. They were murdered. Their corpses were bought back [by their relatives]. ... How I am supposed to live with all this?"
In February, Politkovskaya and Zeinap Gashayeva, co-founder of the Echo of War human rights group based in Ingushetia, visited several villages in the mountainous Vedeno district, including Khatuni and Makhkety. Politkovskaya spoke to villagers and saw the deep pits at the 45th airborne unit, located near Khatuni, where they said people were held until ransom was paid. She then reported what she saw and heard.
In Monday's article, Politkovskaya listed the names of 15 civilians from four villages in the Vedeno district who were killed in April, May and June in what she believes was revenge for giving her information about atrocities committed by the military. Gashayeva, in an interview, added nine more names to the list.
"About 2 a.m. [on May 7] unknown people in masks came to the Khuguyevs' home and killed Yaragi Khuguyev, 52, his wife Markha Khuguyeva, 47, a local activist, and their son Akhyad Khuguyev, 17," Politkovskaya wrote. In an interview, she confirmed that Khuguyeva was among the people she had talked to.
Her article also gives the names of 21 people who were kidnapped after her visit, although it was not clear whether they were among those she had interviewed. To free someone who was kidnapped, or even to retrieve the body of someone who died in military custody, relatives had to pay in cash or weapons, according to Politkovskaya.
There is nothing new in the idea of Chechens being held in pits. Saipudin Mumayev, a surgeon in Grozny's main hospital, said in an interview in April that many people with swollen legs, some with gangrene, come for treatment after spending days in deep pits filled with icy water.
But Politkovskaya is the only journalist who has succeeded in seeing them and writing about them. She said she walked into the 45th unit and persuaded the commander to show them to her. But as soon as she left, she was arrested at a checkpoint and held at a military unit for a few days. She had gone to the Vedeno region to follow up on a letter signed by 90 local families, who asked to be relocated in part because they feared the paratroopers.
At a news conference after coming back to Moscow, Politkovskaya called for international protection for the 90 families.
"I was told by a deputy to Stanislav Ilyasov [head of the Chechen government] that I didn't need to worry about the people I wrote about, that they would be helped and assisted in their problems," Politkovskaya said in an interview Monday.
It was not clear how many of the villagers who Politkovskaya and Gashayeva say were killed were among those who signed the letter, which also was sent to authorities in Chechnya. The signatures are difficult to read and often have initials instead of first names.
After Novaya Gazeta printed Politkovskaya's article about the pits, and following investigations by the Chechen military prosecutor's office and presidential human rights envoy Vladimir Kalamanov, Politkovskaya said people she had interviewed were called into the military commandant's office and warned not to talk about atrocities committed by federal troops.
After a few months of quiet, she said, the army got even with the people who complained. "What is going on in this country?" Politkovskaya wrote. "Death comes after talking with a journalist?"
Many of those who killed were among the most respected in their villages, she said. "Look, they killed activist Khuguyeva. ... Also Sultan Arsakhanov, 56, a retired Soviet army colonel. He was very much an authority in the Tevzani village whom people listened to. And a deputy school director from Tevzani, Ramzan Ilyasov, 56."
"What they want is for the rest of the people to be like cattle, just silently sitting in their barns," she said.
Although journalists try to protect their sources, and Politkovskaya used no last names in her report, the villages were too small and the Moscow reporter too conspicuous to prevent anyone from figuring out who had talked to her.
Alexei Simonov, head of the Glasnost Defense Fund, said protection of sources is the most sensitive question for journalists, especially in Chechnya where "sources are so distinctive that even if they are not named, they are effectively revealed."
"Our journalists who write about human rights from this war are basically in a vicious circle," he said. "And this is Anna's personal tragedy."

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