Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov denied any role in the slaying of investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya. The modus operandi of the murder hints that it was apparently a contract killing. The journalist had tirelessly exposed human rights abuses in Russia’s conflict-scarred province of Chechnya, including alleged torture, abductions and murder she blamed on Kadyrov’s forces. The brutal murder of the reknowned journalist, who was a fierce critic of Putin’s Chechnya policy has raised several questions worldwide about the state of freedom of press in Russia.

The Chechen strongman said in a statement “I don’t kill women and never have. Women should be loved, for us Chechens a woman is sacred,” he said in comments televised on NTV television.

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