His Excellency Georgiy Enverovich Mamedov
Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Canada
Embassy of the Russian Federation
285 Charlotte Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 8L5
March 16, 2011
I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world. CJFE is concerned by the progress of the investigation into the attack on journalist and blogger Oleg Kashin, who was brutally assaulted by two men outside his home on November 5, 2010.
Kashin was returning home from an interview with an anonymous anti-highway activist when he was attacked. He had been working on an article about a controversial highway building project through the Khimki forest. Kashin, who works for the daily Kommersant and is a well-known blogger read by thousands on the internet, believes that he was attacked for his writing, given that his fingers were broken and his valuables untouched.
While President Dimitry Medvedev was quick to condemn the attack and vowed to track down and punish the attackers, no arrests have been made. CJFE welcomes the public commitment made by Russian officials. Unfortunately, violence against journalists continues to be a real and dangerous threat given Russia’s record of rampant impunity in resolving crimes against the press.
On the occasion of World Day Against Cyber Censorship on March 12, 2011, CJFE urges the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the attack on Kashin, to uphold justice by putting the attackers on trial, and to protect the right to freedom of expression and access of information for all Russian journalists and citizens.
We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.
Cc: Mr. John C. Sloan, Canadian Ambassador to Russia
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs