The United Nations' cultural agency has urged Russian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation after the body of a North Caucasus journalist and human rights activist was found in a forest, just a day after he went missing.
In a statement released by her office, UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova urged the authorities to "spare no efforts" in investigating the death of Timur Kuashev, a correspondent for the independent "Dosh" magazine, which covers political events in the North Caucasus.
"It is important for press freedom and for journalists to be able to carry out their professional duties without fearing for their lives," Bokova said in a statement.
Kuashev, who planned to run for a regional legislative seat as a candidate for the opposition Yabloko party in the Kabardino-Balkaria republic, was found dead on Aug. 1 in a forest near his home in the city of Nalchik, according to Kasparov.ru news portal. He had been reported missing the night before, and unidentified witnesses said they saw plain-clothed men leading him into a car and driving away, Dozhd independent news outlet reported.
Dunja Mijatovic, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe representative on media freedom, also called for a thorough investigation into Kuashev's death, stressing that Kuashev had previously complained about threats from law enforcement officials following his critical reports and opposition activities.
Kuashev was active in a number of public organizations and rights groups, including the Memorial organization, Kasparov.ru news portal reported.