Top Human Rights Lawyer Slain in Moscow

He opposed release of colonel who killed Chechen teen
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2009 4:41 PM CST
Stanislav Markelov is seen speaking to the media in Moscow in this 2005 photo. Markelov was shot and killed yesterday after a press conference in central Moscow, officials said.   (AP Photo/Grigory Tambulov, Kommersant)
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(Newser) – A Russian lawyer fighting the early release of a colonel convicted of war crimes was shot dead yesterday in Moscow, Deutsche Welle reports. Stanislav Markelov, 34, was planning to challenge the parole of Yuri Budanov, who was freed last week after being imprisoned 6 years ago for murdering a Chechen girl. The assailant shot Markelov in the back of the head and fled.

A freelance journalist accompanying the lawyer tried to intervene but was also killed. The gunman hasn’t been caught. “It’s terrible that this has become a grim reality of our life,” said a lawyer. Added a human rights advocate: Markelov’s “name was a symbol of hope that you can find justice and the guilty will be punished.”