Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, a prominent paper known for its anti-government investigative journalism, has issued a damning open letter on that accuses a major government figure of threatening to kill the paper’s deputy editor.It the letter, editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov says that deputy editor Sergei Sokolov was driven to the forests after a press trip in early June by Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s investigative committee (somewhat like the FBI). Once they got to the forest, Bastrykin asked the security guards to leave them, and then insulted Novaya Gazeta’s reporting on a number of scandals.
At this point, Bastrykin reportedly made a threat on Muratov’s life, and implied he would personally be behind the assassination.
These sort of threats carry more weight in Russia, where a number of prominent journalists have been murdered in recent years. Novaya Gazette knows this problem well — their reporter Anna Politkovskaya was murdered by hit-men in 2006, and her high-profile case remains unsolved to this day. “We have buried our colleagues,” Muratov writes in its letter.
Sokolov is now in hiding outside of the country, the Guardian reports, and Muratov says he will not return until promises are made that he and his colleagues are safe.
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