RSF calls for full probe into reporter’s death in Yekaterinburg

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Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for a full and impartial investigation into journalist Maxim Borodin’s death as a result of a fall from the balcony of his apartment in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals. All hypotheses should be considered, including the possibility that he was murdered in connection with his investigative reporting, RSF said.

In what circumstances did the 32-year-old Borodin, who worked for the Novy Den news agency, fall from the balcony of his fifth-floor apartment on 12 April? He died from his injuries yesterday without ever recovering consciousness.

Borodin covered very sensitive subjects including crime and corruption. He had been the subject of comment at the national level several times in recent months in connection with his reporting on the involvement of Russian mercenaries in Syria, the scandal surrounding the oligarch Oleg Deripaska and the controversy about the Russian film “Matilda.”

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to Maxim Borodin’s family and colleagues, and we demand a full and impartial investigation into his death,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “In view of the highly sensitive nature of his investigative reporting, all hypotheses must be given serious consideration, including the possibility that he was murdered in connection with his reporting.”

The Investigative Committee, which is responsible for investigating the most serious crimes in Russia, says it is examining sereval leads but thinks the possibility that Borodin was murdered is “unlikely.” His apartment door was locked on the inside when the police arrived.

But local human rights defender Vyacheslav Bashkov said he received a call from an alarmed Borodin the day before the deadly fall and, according to friends, he had reported several attacks in recent months.

Russia is ranked 148th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index. RSF has repeatedly condemned the chronic impunity for murders and physical violence against journalists in Russia.

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Updated on 17.04.2018