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Martyrs for freedom of speech

- The murder of Anna Politkovskaja proves how right she was in what she wrote, says editor Martine Aurdal in Ny Tid about her regular columnist.


Anna Politkovskaya was shot and killed today, October 7, 2006. The Russian journalist and author wrote exclusively for Ny Tid, in a regular monthly column.

- I am deeply shaken by the news, says editor-in-chief Martine Aurdal.

- Anna Politkovskaya was a brave and strong critic of Putin and the Russian government's advance. She was the main critic of the war in Chechnya, and was open about the fear for her own life. The murder has proved how right Anna was in what she wrote.

Politkovskaya was found killed in an elevator in the apartment block where she lived in Moscow. She worked in the newspaper Novaja gazeta in Moscow and has published the book Putin's Russia. In 2004 she was awarded the Olof Palme Prize for Freedom of Expression and in 2003 she received the Norwegian Writers' Association's Freedom of Expression Award. The human rights defender has been subjected to repeated murder threats for his work in Chechnya, and had written wills for fear of being killed. In 2002, she served as a mediator when Chechen rebels took hundreds of hostages at the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow. She was prevented from covering the hostage drama in Beslan in 2004, when she was poisoned on the plane. Even Anna Politkovskaya was not in doubt that the Russian authorities were behind.

- Last week, Anna wrote in Ny Tid about how Putin's criminal groups in Chechnya spread their cruel abuses and "Chechenize" the rest of Russia, while Putin protects his own. Words can be dangerous. Today, Anna has become a martyr for freedom of expression, says Aurdal.

We in Ny Tid now hope that the Norwegian government comes with violent protests and demands international participation in the investigation of the murder. The truth must come out.

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