Kremlin Lies About Murdered Russians in Africa

January 14, 2019
The three Russian Journalists murdered in August in the Central African Republic (Kirill Radchenkko, Aleksandr Rastorguyev and Orkhan Dzehmal)

Mikhail Khodorkovsky has summarised the findings of the most recent Dossier Center investigation into the deaths of three Russian journalists in the Central African Republic

On 10 January, we presented the results of the Dossier Center investigation into the tragic deaths of three Russian journalists in the Central African Republic (CAR) to journalists.

These journalists and the publications they have provided us with invaluable assistance in the investigation process. For example, they refrained from publishing the material they themselves had found, which has allowed us to achieve what we have achieved [today].

Here are the findings.

Our presentation consisted of two separate parts: what we have proved, and we believe happened.

The main conclusion of the evidence is that we can refute the ‘banal robbery’ explanation. This is the story that the [Russian] Foreign Ministry and Putin himself had been repeating.

European journalists are rarely killed in the CAR (the last murder happened nearly five years ago). They are certainly not killed during robberies, nor on roads that are designated as ‘safe’ by the UN. And robbers usually steal people’s belonging and leave the people, not kill the people and leave their belongings behind. We proved that the journalists were not just killed “while resisting robbery”, but murdered in cold blood by professionals, as if they were dangerous witnesses. To make sure they had no chance of survival.

We have proved that Mr. Romanovsky – a journalist from the Federal News Agency who provided the group of journalists with their contact in the CAR – was not a trustworthy source.

We have proved that his ‘contact’ was fake.

We have proven that the driver provided to the group was member of the local gendarmes [police]; that the local gendarme Emanual Katafio had been monitoring the group’s location constantly (there were over 47 phone called registered to the driver’s phone over the three days); and that the driver visited the place of the murder on the day of the murder.

We have provided a witness testimony which confirms that it was he [the driver] who got the group through the checkpoint at night. This happened when the group deviated from the original route, deciding to go at night for some reason. None of this was planned. We assumed the group was lured by the promise of meeting a source. The testimony states that the driver was in a vehicle in front of the group with other gendarmes and three white Europeans, and that he made it back to the checkpoint.

We have proved that the driver was himself in constant contact (100 calls over 2 months) with Alexander Sotov – an employee of Yevgeny Prigozhin responsible for ‘external surveillance’; and that the latter was in contact with Valery Zakharov – adviser to the President of the CAR.

We have proved that Prigozhin employees have not only corrupted the leadership of the CAR, but that they also took control over the investigation [into the murder of the journalists]; that they bribe the leadership and organise ‘apprenticeships’ for those who carry out orders.

We have shown that two potential witnesses died under suspicious circumstances; though this doesn’t prove that Prigozhin murdered them.

The public statement released by the [Russian] Federal Investigative Committee at 13:03 (Moscow) in response to the appeal from Prigozhin affiliates at 3:30 (Moscow) should alarm those who understand how [Russian] bureaucracy works and who are concerned about [guaranteeing] the independence of the investigation.

The Federal Investigative Committee could not even bring itself to study the evidence we published, deciding merely to check the headlines. Had they studied the evidence, then they wouldn’t have used phrases such as ‘unsubstantiated allegations’ and ‘charges against individuals not involved [in the killings]’. Also, the Investigation Management Center mentioned in the Investigative Committee report has not existed for several months. Therefore it clearly could not ‘initiative publications’ [as the report claims].

Our task now is to get answers to the questions raised by our work from the official investigation.

The current position of the Investigative Committee is not encouraging.

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