Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Natalya Estemirova, R.I.P.

Human rights activist shot dead in
Russia


An award-winning Russian human rights activist was murdered today after dedicating much of her life to investigating abuses by the Chechen regime.

Natalya Estemirova was shot twice in the head at close-range after she was bundled into a car in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya.

The activist, who was one of Anna Politkovskaya's key collaborators, was found dead near the city of Nazran in Ingushetia. A single mother in her early 40s, Estemirova had collected evidence of human rights abuses in Chechnya since the start of the second war there in 1999.

As well as the murdered Politkovskaya, she worked with Stanislav Markelov, a prominent lawyer and another opponent of rights abuses in Chechnya, who was shot and killed on a Moscow street in January.

Estemirova took part in a rally to protest his murder, reading out one of the numerous threats he had received for his campaigns against disappearances, false imprisonments and rights abuses.

A year after Politkovskaya was gunned down in her Moscow apartment building in 2006, Estemirova became the first recipient of an award in her name for work for the leading Russian rights group Memorial.

As she received the Anna Politkovskaya prize, she said: "Nothing has been done to investigate the crimes that have been committed in Chechnya since 2000.”

The Memorial rights group said in a statement today that Estemirova “was forcefully taken from her house into a car and shouted that she was being kidnapped” at 8.30 am (0330 BST) in Grozny.

“Chechen authorities had expressed dissatisfaction with her work more than once,” Memorial said. The group’s statement did not give any indication of who might have carried out the abduction.

Concerns have grown in the last weeks about the stability of the Caucasus after Ingushetia’s leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was seriously wounded in a car bombing on June 22.

Security forces are being killed in clashes with militants on an almost daily basis and ten Chechen police officers were killed in a militant ambush in Ingushetia last week.

Memorial and Human Rights Watch had earlier this month issued a report accusing Chechen security forces of punishing families of alleged militants by burning down their homes.

The authorities have failed to secure any convictions over the 2006 killing in Moscow of Politkovskaya, who exposed abuses by Russian security forces in Chechnya and vehemently criticised the Kremlin. Also unsolved are the January murders of young journalist Anastasia Baburova and Mr Markelov, who were gunned down in central Moscow as they left a news conference.

12 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Vigilante said...

This is depressing, Boris. And disgusting.

7/16/2009 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger MadMike said...

It is terribly depressing. I am convinced that as long as Putin and his ex-KGB comrades run the government of Russia such horrifying incidents will continue to take place. Human rights is not at the top of the list in the Motherland.

7/16/2009 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

Thoroughly disgusting. Putin and his pals are a reminder of Russia's bloody past and a sure sign that it will continue to flow needlessly.

7/16/2009 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger MacDaddy said...

This is sad. While Republicans are engaged in political posturing to keep up its rep with its base, while we're still discussing the medication Michael Jackson took, while we're still discussing Sarah Palin, a person who now has celebrity status but hardly anything else, courageous people in other parts of the world are really standing up for democracy, worker's rights, and against theocratic state terror as in Iran and the Soviet Union under Putin. And they're giving the lives for it.

We're walking on egg shells around the edges of a shadowy democracy that's really run by gigantic corporations. They're fighting to gain a democracy that they essentially never had.

Like people in other countries, We need to get away from celebrity news and narrow Republican vs. democrat politics and take back our country, before it's too late.

7/16/2009 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger George W Bush said...

I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy….I was able to get a sense of his soul.

7/16/2009 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Cold War Vet said...

I'd like to take this time to also remember Benazir Bhutto.

Too many patriots in this world are being murdered for the cause of greed and power.

7/16/2009 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Paris-Dakar said...

I'm curious to hear the rest of the story here. Many of these so-called 'Human Righs Activists' end up being Soros-Financed Outside Agitators. Too many people are too quick to demonize Vladmir Putin.

7/16/2009 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Paris-Dakar, this is a pro-Soros site, through and through! He even have his Proxy aboard!

7/16/2009 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

So, give us your best shot, but keep it brief.

7/16/2009 05:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Paris-Dakar said...

Well, in the late-90s Russia was in the process of being destroyed by an avalanche of predatory foreign capital. Vladmir Putin was the one who put a stop to it.

VP has also been very friendly towards the reestablishment of the Russian Orthodox Church as an influence in Russian national life, something I'm very sympathetic towards.

I compare VP to General Franco - undoubtedly uses hard tactics but at his core a patriot who genuinely wants the best for his country.

7/16/2009 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Paris-Dakar:

I was very positive toward Putin for while. I thought his strongman approach to Post Yeltzin Russia was exactly what Russia needed to get its politics and economy back on even keel. But I was not so happy to see it slip back into autocracy. Particularly the use of assassination to suppress dissent and transparency. (Especially use of assassination in the U.K.) Now the Russian government is less republican than Iran. But, if you're going to blame any non-Russians for this devolution, George Bush deserves more credit for this devolution than George Soros.

7/16/2009 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

I try to think of the Irish reported who suffered the same fate.... it's important to note when those who do stand up to 'it' are taken down... it hurts the heart...

Have a great weekend... sailing on!

7/24/2009 08:13:00 AM  

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