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1 Jul, 2009 09:30

Investigation into murder of Russian Forbes editor resumed

An investigation into the murder of the editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine is to recommence, according to his family's lawyer.

Paul Klebnikov was gunned down outside his office in Moscow on July 9, 2004.

Two years later, three men were acquitted of his murder, but Russia's Supreme Court has ordered a retrial.

The lawyer for the family of the murdered journalist said recently, in an interview with Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy, that she had received a notification that the investigation was halted in May of this year, on the basis that one of the suspects could not be found.

Then, in June, she received another notification saying that the investigation was once again in progress. However, according to the defense lawyer of the three suspects – two of them Chechens by nationality and the third one a lawyer from Moscow – the suspects never received any notifications from the prosecutor’s office.

Again, the prosecutor’s office is obliged to inform the suspects if the investigation is halted for any reason.

In May 2006, the three suspects were found not guilty of murdering Paul Klebnikov. However, the prosecutor’s office appealed, and six months later the case was sent for another hearing.

Right now, quite contradictory reports are coming from the defense and the lawyer for the victim’s family. It is the task of the prosecutor’s office to clear up the situation.

Paul Klebnikov was an American citizen, and several times US officials have pressed the issue of finding the killers of the Forbes editor and bringing his killers to justice. In fact, on July 10, 2008, Washington said the US government was highly disappointed with the results of the investigation.

Now that Barack Obama is to visit the Russian capital in less than a week, Klebnikov’s family has called on the US President to once again raise the issue and speak directly to President Medvedev about the problem, pressing the Russian President to speed up the investigation.

“I think it is very important for the family and colleagues of Paul Klebnikov, as well as for the whole of society, that the investigation has been resumed. And it's equally important that the case should be completed, and those responsible found, tried and punished,” commented the current editor of Forbes Russia Maksim Kashulinsky.