Rights group urges Moscow to deliver justice for slain journalist

Sunday, July 15, 2012
Natalia Estemirova
London: In a statement released to the press, Amnesty International has called on Russia to “show political will and end impunity” for the murder of human rights activists and scribes in the North Caucasus.

The UK-based human rights group pointed out that those responsible for Natalia Estemirova's abduction and murder in Grozny, Chechnya on 15 July 2009 have still not been brought to justice.

The global watchdog claimed that since the killing of Estemirova, more civil society activists, independent lawyers and journalists have been intimidated, attacked and killed with impunity

"The failure to bring to justice the murderers of Estemirova and of other human rights activists in the North Caucasus can only be explained by a complete lack of political will to end impunity for such crimes," said John Dalhuisen, Director of Europe and Central Asia for Amnesty International.

Amnesty International alleged that in spite of the Russian Investigation Committee’s repeated statements that all leads, including those with possible involvement of government officials in Natalia's Estemirova's murder, would be investigated, there appears to be “no progress and no meaningful steps have been taken in that direction.”

“We have to conclude that the Russian authorities gave hollow promises which they never meant to fulfil", said John Dalhuisen.

Dalhuisen added, "The authorities need to end this practice and show the world that they are capable and willing to tackle violence against human rights defenders and journalists."

Natalia Estemirova, a journalist and activist for the Russian human rights centre Memorial, was abducted by armed men outside the apartment building she lived in Grozny, Chechen Republic, on 15 July 2009.

According to eyewitnesses, she was put in a car and driven away. Her body was found a few hours later in the neighbouring Republic of Ingushetia. She had been shot at point blank range.
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