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U.S. Congress urges further inquiry into Forbes Russia editor murder

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WASHINGTON, May 17 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution Tuesday urging Russia to continue an inquiry into the murder of American journalist Paul Klebnikov.

A majority jury verdict at a Moscow court acquitted May 5 three ethnic Chechens charged with murdering Klebnikov, former editor of Forbes Russia magazine, in July 2004. Prosecutors have filed an appeal against the ruling, citing major trial violations.

"The House of Representatives ... urges the Government of Russia to take appropriate action to protect the independence and freedom of the Russian media and all visiting members of the media," the House resolution said.

Prosecutors say Klebnikov was killed on the orders of Chechen businessman Khozh-Akhmed Nukhayev, who wanted revenge after the journalist wrote a critical book "Conversations with a Barbarian" with him as the central figure.

The House said "a group of United States investigative journalists who doubt the Russian Government's claim has launched its own inquiry into the death of Mr. Klebnikov" and voiced concern about press freedom in Russia.

"Repression of free speech in Russia has engendered the belief that journalists can be intimidated and killed with impunity," the House said, adding that it "commends all journalists working and living in Russia for their courageous dedication to transparency and the truth."

Klebnikov had worked for Forbes since 1989, and gained a reputation for investigating murky post-Soviet business dealings and corruption.

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