Reporters Without Borders joins others in calling for a rally at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow in front of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in homage to Anna Politkovskaya. It also reiterates its call for an international commission of enquiry into her death, according to a press release, received by UNIAN from RWB.

“Politkovskaya¹s brutal murder has triggered a wave of international outrage,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Even Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, who was criticised by Politkovskaya and who has been accused by some Russian media of being behind her murder, has expressed his condolences.”

The press freedom organisation added: “In a laconic statement issued 48 hours after the murder, President Vladimir Putin finally promised an Œobjective investigation” into her Œtragic death.” The long silence before he spoke reinforces our concern about the way the Russian police and judicial authorities will conduct their investigation.”

”It would be unthinkable to let the Russian police and judicial authorities handle this case on their own. They have already demonstrated their inability to solve the murders of journalists who angered the authorities. The still unsolved murder of Paul Klebnikov, the editor of the Russian edition of Forbes, in July 2004 is an obvious example.

Politkovskaya was the symbol of Russian conscience standing up to an autocratic government that gags journalists,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Her condemnation of state terror in Chechnya and her unwavering commitment to press freedom made her a beacon of independent journalism in Russia. By eliminating her, by silencing her in this most brutal of ways, they have murdered Russia¹s democratic conscience.”

French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy has urged the Russian authorities to shed light on the murder and identify those responsible, suggesting that ³competent European entities such as the OSCE or the Council of Europe should help with the search for the truth.” Reporters Without Borders said it took note of Douste-Blazy’s statement and would ensure that the French foreign ministry continued to maintain pressure on the Russian government.

Politkovskaya had worked for the biweekly Novaya Gazeta since 1999. She was supposed to hand in an article, with photos, about torture in Chechnya for today’s edition. It never arrived at the newspaper. In her last book, “Russia under Putin,” which was published this year in France, she not only criticised atrocities in Chechnya but also corruption and human rights violations in Russia.

Internationally acclaimed for her courage and professionalism, Politkovskaya, 48, was found dead in her apartment building in the centre of Moscow on the afternoon of 7 October. She had been shot several times. Tomorrow`s Politkovskaya rally is being organised by the France-Russia Association of Journalists, Studies Without Borders, Reporters Without Borders and all of Politkovskaya`s friends and supporters in France.