World

Jo Cox death: How do different countries respond to murders of politicians?

Tributes to Jo Cox Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Political killings are on the rise, a report says

British MP Jo Cox's killing has sparked debate over whether UK politicians should have stronger security arrangements.

Murders of public figures have been on the rise since the 1970s with about 15 political targets murdered each year between 1970 and 2013, a report from the Combating Counter Terrorism Centre says.

Most government officials were killed by "sub-state" violent groups while most opposition politicians were killed by ruling elites and their proxies, the report said.

Last week, 11 German MPs of Turkish origin were given police protection after receiving death threats for supporting a move to describe the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.

Here's how countries around the world have reacted to recent killings.


Boris Nemtsov, Russian opposition politician killed in 2015

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Image caption Boris Nemtsov was a charismatic opposition leader
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Image caption Mr Nemtsov was shot within sight of the Kremlin

Boris Nemtsov - a reformer and a democrat who became fiercely critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin - was shot in the back as he walked home late at night in February last year.

His allies say it was meant to terrify them into silence. Five Chechens are accused of carrying out a contract killing.

Mikhail Kasyanov, who co-led the People's Freedom Party alongside Mr Nemtsov, employs bodyguards and other opposition figures have also upped security.

In January, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov - a key ally of Mr Putin - posted a picture on social media of Mr Kasyanov in the sights of a gun, which Mr Kasyanov says was a death threat.

He says thugs have disrupted his party's events amid an atmosphere of mounting nationalism fuelled by the government.

"People don't feel secure at all," he told the BBC earlier this year.

Mr Nemtsov also employed guards, but they were not with him at the time he was killed. His daughter has since fled the country over concerns for her safety.

Grief, fear and anger one year on

Who killed Boris Nemtsov?


Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan opposition leader killed in 2007

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Image caption Pro-Taliban and al-Qaeda groups made no secret of their desire to kill Mrs Bhutto
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mrs Bhutto was attacked at a campaign rally

Mrs Bhutto, a former prime minister, was leaving a campaign rally in Rawalpindi in an armoured car with her head exposed above the open roof hatch when an attacker opened fire and a bomb went off.

Pro-Taliban and al-Qaeda militants had made little secret of their desire to target her after she returned from exile in the UK.

Her son Bilawal Bhutto and husband, former President Asif Zardari, now speak from behind bulletproof glass, employ teams of bodyguards and people attending their events are searched.

However, risks remain. In 2011, Punjab governor Salman Taseer was assassinated by his own bodyguard over his stance on Pakistan's blasphemy laws. And last year, Punjab's Home Minister Shuja Khanzada, who was in charge of an anti-terror drive in the province, died in a suicide attack.

South Asia has seen the biggest spike in assassinations worldwide, with 50 killings - most in Afghanistan and Pakistan - taking place between 2006 and 2013, the Combating Counter Terrorism Center said.

Q&A: Benazir Bhutto assassination

Who was Benazir Bhutto?


Anna Lindh, Swedish foreign minister killed in 2003

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Image caption Ms Lindh was widely tipped to be Sweden's next prime minister
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Image caption She did not have protection from Sweden's intelligence services

Lindh, a 46-year-old widely tipped to be the next prime minister, was fatally stabbed in a Stockholm department store by a 25-year-old man who later told a newspaper that he had hated politicians because he blamed them for his own failures.

Her case echoed the killing of Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986, shot dead on his way home from the cinema, although that murder has never been solved.

Neither were protected by Sweden's intelligence service Sapo - Lindh was considered low-risk while Palme refused bodyguards on the night of his death.

Palme's death marked the end of an era in which Sweden's leaders "lived like ordinary people", Jonas Hinnfors, a sociology professor, told the New York Times.

Critics said Lindh should have had protection because she was a leading advocate of Sweden joining the euro currency. Her killing prompted Norway to review its procedures while Finland's leader said it was a setback for Nordic openness.

Sapo has since said increased security is now the norm for all prominent Swedish politicians, The Local reported.


US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, shot in the head in 2011

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Image copyright Getty Images

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at close range and left in a critical condition in an incident that has some parallels with Jo Cox's murder.

The 40-year-old was meeting constituents when 22-year-old Jared Loughner shot her and then killed six others including a nine-year-old girl and a district judge.

Mrs Giffords was initially placed in an induced coma before having part of her skull replaced and then had long-term therapy to help her speak and walk.

Loughner, who had mental health problems, reportedly held views associated with the far right and distrusted and disliked the government. He also had a longstanding dislike of Mrs Giffords, friends said.

Image copyright @GabbyGiffords

Although her office had been vandalised over support for President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, there had been no threats against her and there were no metal detectors at her event.

Members of Congress enjoy 24-hour protection provided by 1,800 officers at the US Capitol in Washington, but have no such arrangements in their districts.

Some members and former members of Congress told The Hill newspaper they had started carrying a gun at constituency events after the attack on Mrs Giffords.

Mrs Giffords has since campaigned for stricter gun control laws in the US. She condemned the killing of Jo Cox on Twitter.

How did Gabrielle Giffords survive a shot in the head?


Pim Fortuyn, Dutch anti-immigrant politician killed in 2002

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Image caption Pim Fortuyn's blunt language created a big stir in Dutch politics
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption He was killed by an animal rights activist

The gay, 54-year-old sociology professor scorned Islam as a "backward culture" and wanted to cut immigration.

He was shot in the city of Hilversum by animal rights activist Volkert van der Graaf, days before a general election in which his party was expected to make big gains.

Van der Graaf - who was released from prison in 2014 after expressing remorse - said he had seen Fortuyn as a threat to minority rights.

Although most Dutch politicians did not then have personal security, Fortuyn employed private bodyguards but could not afford round-the-clock protection.

His party paved the way for the Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders, who campaigns on a similar platform.

Mr Wilders has had 24-hour security since 2004, when two men armed with grenades were caught in The Hague and later accused of planning to murder him and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was then a Dutch MP and now lives in the US.

Mr Wilders wears a bulletproof vest much of the time and has moved between safe houses to evade attack. His name appeared on an al-Qaeda hit list that also included the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Stephane Charbonneau, who was killed in the attack on the publication's office in Paris in January last year.

"I haven't had personal freedom now for 10 years. I can't set one foot out of my house or anywhere in the world without security," he told Newsweek magazine in 2015.

Geert Wilders profile