Human rights defender Andrei Kulagin murdered in Karelia (Russia)
The press service of the civic organization “Justice” has announced that the leader of the regional branch of the movement has been murdered. His body was found in a sand quarry near Petrozavodsk.
Andrei Stolbunov from “Justice” explained to journalists that Andrei Kulagin disappeared on 14 May after receiving a phone call late in the evening suggesting a meeting. His human rights colleagues assume that he knew the person and did not perceive him or her as a potential source of danger. Mr Kulagin was last seen by a taxi driver who took him to the arranged meeting place in a city café.
Andrei Kulagin was active in working with the local department of the Federal Service for the Execution of Sentences and spoke out in favour of humanizing prisoners’ conditions.
Little more is known at this stage, however it comes after many killings of human rights activists, including Natalya Estemirova exactly one week ago, and persecution of human rights defenders, including Alexei Sokolov in Yekaterinburg,
The premises of “Justice” in Moscow were also searched by the authorities in May this year. This was reported at the time by the organization’s lawyer Stalina Gurevich who is also well-known as the defender of Mikhail Beketov, human rights activist and journalist, who has faced court cases over his human rights work and was almost killed in a vicious attack outside his home late last year.
From information at www.grani.ru