Amnesty International: Natalia Estemirova, one of five human rights defenders whose killers remain at large

posted 12 Dec 2017, 11:25 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Dec 2017, 11:39 ]
Every other day since 1998 - the year when the UN adopted a declaration pledging to protect human rights defenders - someone has been killed or forcibly disappeared just for standing up for human rights. 
Lawyers, journalists, environmentalists, teachers and many other people who speak out about human rights violations are often targeted by those with powerful interests who don’t like them getting in the way. After these attacks, which have been on the rise globally for many years, it can seem almost impossible for relatives and friends to get justice, and many cases remain unsolved years later. When this happens, it has a knock-on effect on the whole of society. Imagine being from a marginalized group and finding out that not only had a brave individual who spoke out for your rights just been killed – but their attackers were probably going to get away with it. That’s why it’s so important that we don’t let states sweep these attacks under the carpet. To mark Human Rights Day 2017, Amnesty International is standing with human rights defenders and their families and shining a light on five unsolved killings:



What happened?
On the morning of 15 July 2009, human rights defender and journalist Natalia Estemirova left her flat in Grozny, the capital of the southern Russian republic of Chechnya, to go to work. On her way to the bus stop she was dragged into a car by unidentified armed men and driven away. Her body was later found by a roadside, with gunshot wounds to her chest and head.

Why? Natalia was one of Russia’s leading human rights defenders. She documented grave human rights violations committed in the second Chechen conflict, such as torture, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances. To carry out this work she had to brave constant threats and intimidation from the Chechen authorities.

Justice? NO The federal authorities launched an investigation and there were promises at the highest level – from the then President Dmitry Medvedev – that the murder would be solved. However, more than eight years later, there is no progress in finding out who killed Natalia Estemirova. The investigation has also failed to address the possible involvement of the authorities in Natalia’s killing, and the perpetrators are still at large. [...]

Source: Amnesty International, 8 December 2017