Top journalist murdered in Russia

AFP , Friday 16 Dec 2011

A leading journalist and founder of a newspaper known for its frequent criticism of the Russian authorities, is murdered in the country's Muslim Caspian Sea region

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Memorial of another Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya in 2006, Moscow, October 2009 (Photo: Reuters)

A gunman on Friday shot dead a leading journalist in Dagestan, the latest murder of a prominent public figure to shake the troubled Russian Caucasus region, officials said.

Khadzhimurad Kamalov, the founder of the Dagestan weekly newspaper Chernovik and the general director of its publisher Svoboda Slova (Freedom of Speech), was killed during the night in the main city Makhachkala, investigators said.

A gunman shot him dead close to the offices of the publisher, the Interfax news agency quoted the local branch of the Russian Investigative Committee as saying.

Kamalov was the founder of Chernovik, which has been published since 2003 and, according to Russia's Kommersant daily, became known for its frequent criticism of the authorities.

His murder follows the killing earlier this year in Makhachkala of Maksud Sadikov, leading university professor in Dagestan who criticised radical Islamists.

Dagestan, a Muslim Caspian Sea region known for its ancient culture and tapestry of ethnic groups, endures regular attacks officials blame on militants seeking to establish an Islamic state across the Russian Caucasus. 

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