Justice is a fickle creature.
In the same 24 hours that Britons stand agog at the news that the Yorkshire Ripper might be downgraded to a medium security facility – and then what? – the alleged killers of the journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, are acquitted.
It transpires that the jurors found there was not enough evidence to tie the four men – Chechen brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makmudovare as well as Sergei Khadzhikurbanov – to the murder of the Novaya Gazeta journalist, gunned down in front of her Moscow apartment in October 2006.
Amidst the murk that surrounds her demise, it has been speculated that the actual gunmen and those who planned the murder are still at large, while a fourth defendant, a former secret service agent, stood accused of abusing his office for having divulged the address of the journalist.
Let us not kid ourselves that this is merely another bad day in the record of dubious international judicial decisions: this is a blow for censorship, whistle-blowing, human rights, and the endeavours of journalists the world over to highlight abuses and all that is wrong and state-sanctioned.
Politkovskaya uncovered the gruesome atrocities that were perpetuated in Chechnya; when the rest of the world looked away, she thrust the evidence into the global media.
Moreover, she knew that she was in danger, and yet continued – that takes a unique variety of pluck, and renders Politkovskaya an enduring journalistic icon.
The continued ‘mystery’ of her death is a violation of justice, the free press, and humanity in general.