To the Editors:
We believe your readers will be interested in the following petition—which we fully endorse—protesting the assassination in Russia of the writer and journalist Paul Klebnikov. It was passed at the International PEN 70th international congress in Tromsø, Norway, in early September. Concerned readers should write to President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin, Moscow, and to the Honorable Yuri V. Ushakov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Embassy of the Russian Federation, 2650 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 20007.
We the undersigned, writers, editors, and journalists from around the world, urge Russian political leaders to bring to justice those responsible for the brutal assassination of Paul Klebnikov.
Paul was the founder and editor in chief of Forbes Russia, which had only recently opened an office in Moscow. He had written a book on corruption among Russian oligarchs. He was murdered in Moscow on his way home from work on July 9, 2004. He leaves behind three young children and a wife. Paul went to Russia to encourage a high standard of business and journalistic ethics. In his work he strongly advocated justice, openness, and the right to free speech.
We ask that political leaders from around the world express to the Russian government their concern that Paul’s murderers be brought to justice. We also ask that Russian leaders, beginning with President Putin, declare publicly that Russia is determined to solve this crime and will not tolerate the murder of people whose only offense is to speak the truth.
Russian authorities should fully investigate not only this but the other recent murders of journalists in Russia. No matter who the assassins are, no matter how wealthy or powerful, they should be brought to trial and convicted. Successful prosecution will show the world that the Russian government can deal resolutely with such criminals. Failure will send a message that Russia is still a dangerous place to visit or do business.
President, International PEN
and ninety-five other signers