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Maxim Shevchenko calls for independent group of journalists to investigate death of Russian film crew in Africa

Maxim Shevchenko announced on Thursday that an independent group of Russian journalists will carry out their own investigation into the deaths of Orkhan Dzhemal, Alexander Rastorguyev, and Kirill Radchenko, who were killed in the Central African Republic on July 30, while filming a documentary about Russian mercenaries in the area. Based on statements Shevchenko made to the radio station Ekho Moskvy, it’s not clear if the independent group already exists.

According to Shevchenko, the investigation into the murders should be conducted by “a group of independent war correspondents and professionals with combat experience, including members of the armed forces” and friends of the killed journalists.

Calling on Russian state officials to support the creation of the independent group, Shevchenko noted that the former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky (who financed the documentary expedition to Africa) is already assembling a team of journalists to investigate the murders. Shevchenko didn’t specify, however, if he believes his independent group should collaborate with Khodorkovsky’s group or work in parallel.

Maxim Shevchenko announced his resignation from Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council in May, after the organization ignored his calls for an inquiry into the Cossack groups that attacked anti-Putin protesters on May 5.