Testimony of the defendant


This is the speech of Oleg Petrovich Orlov, defendant in Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov’s [defamation] lawsuit to defend his honour, dignity and professional reputation, and for compensation for moral damages, at a court hearing in the Tverskoi District Court of Moscow, on 25th September 2009.



Your honour,


The lawsuit of the President of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov brought against me to defend his honour, dignity, for compensation for moral damages, contains unfounded demands and should not be satisfied.


The text of the declaration of the lawsuit itself is full of information and opinions that have no relation at all to the demands of the plaintiff in the lawsuit, and contains allegations, which do not correspond to reality. This is particularly true of the account of how the Plaintiff and Nataliya Estimirova met and became acquainted.


However, I will not go into all of this now. Rather I will go straight to the essence of the lawsuit. I do not deny that all of the words that are cited in the declaration of the lawsuit and, which the Plaintiff is demanding that I retract, are indeed contained in a statement by the Human Rights Centre “Memorial” that is on our website and that I said them publicly.


I had the grounds to say them.


Let us examine what I said.

I know, I am sure, who is guilty of Nataliya Estemirova’s murder. We all know this person. He is called Ramzan Kadyrov. He is the President of the Chechen Republic”.


The Plaintiff is claiming that I supposedly declared his involvement in Natasha Estemirova’s murder. But I didn’t say anything about involvement, I was speaking about guilt. And these are two different things.


I was not using the word “guilty” in the criminal-law sense of the word, but in the social and political sense. Ramzan Kadyrov’s political guilt for the fact that this crime took place is obvious. Allegations of political guilt are not a statement of fact but are my opinion, conviction and evaluation of Kadyrov’s actions over many years.


Your honour, allow me to recount various pieces of information, on the basis of which, I formed the aforementioned opinion.


We are not just speaking about the fact that according to the Constitution of the Chechen Republic official persons are obliged to defend the rights and freedoms of individuals and citizens (Art. 14 of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic). But the President of the Chechen Republic is the highest official of the Chechen Republic (Art. 63 of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic) and as such is responsible for what takes place on the territory of Chechnya.


And R. Kadyrov is not just formally responsible for what happens in the Chechen Republic but is actually responsible.


The Plaintiff himself confirms this on his website “ramzankadyrov”:

I am personally responsible ... for everything that happens in the Republic”.

(See: www.ramzankadyrov.ru/press.php?releases&press_id=1044&month=07&year=2007)


Numerous facts and reports from the mass media prove that R. Kadyrov really does control and run, not only the activity of the civil executive powers of the Republic, but also the activity of the law enforcements agencies in the Chechen Republic.


Meanwhile, officials of the civil administration and the law enforcement agencies under his control commit gross human rights violations, and it is not rare for them to refer to direct instructions from the President of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.


An atmosphere of impunity for officials of the law enforcement agencies who break the law has been created on the territory of the Chechen Republic.


Naturally, representatives of human rights organisations constantly protest against this type of human rights violation. Natasha Estemirova, as a member and employee of our organisation, collected and distributed information on human rights violations, and was publicly critical of them.


Instead of trying to investigate the facts of the violations that have been exposed, high up republican officials publicly try to depict employees of independent human rights organisations as enemies of the republic, people, who in conditions of a fight against terrorism are interfering with the establishment of peace and stability in Chechnya. It has gone so far that the television screens are giving out a message that human rights defenders are accomplices of terrorists, whilst at the same time it is asserted that terrorists’ accomplices and even those who “support them with their thoughts” should be destroyed.


In the Chechen Republic a situation has been created wherein it has become dangerous to even call yourself a “human rights defender”.


It seems obvious to me, that if the picture described by me corresponds to reality, then I had every reason to formulate an opinion with regards to the indisputable political guilt of Ramzan Kadyrov for the fact that Natasha Estimirova was killed.


What evidence do I have of the truth of the picture described by my words?


The proof that R. Kadyrov really does constantly control and run not only the agencies of executive power, but also the law enforcement agencies in the Chechen Republic, and consequently is responsible for their actions and for their inaction, is as follows:

- materials from the press service of the President and the government of the Chechen Republic, (http://www.chechnya.gov.ru) on how R. Kadyrov regularly (as in several times a month) runs meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic, Ruslan Alkhanov, as well as with his deputies and the heads of the sub-divisions of the ministry.

He listens to their reports, gives them tasks and instructions. And the tasks and instructions are not just general ones, but very concrete, for example, to strengthen the running of a special operation in one locality or another, to detain or even to destroy one group of people or another, involved in the activities of illegal armed formations (NVF) and so on.


In my hands I have a print out of various similar types of story from this site. There were 14 such announcements during the period from the middle of May to the start of September alone. That means they were happening approximately once every eight days.


On 4th September material was put on the same site (see: http://www.chechnya.gov.ru/page.php?r=126&id=5956), in which the following information is given. I quote: “The special operation to capture the suicide bombers was run by the President of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, personally”. We are talking here about special operations which were undertaken jointly by officials from the Shalinskii District office of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic and the “South” battalion. Thus, Kadyrov is running operations with the involvement of military personnel from internal troops. I ask that this information be added to the case materials.


- materials from television channels in the Chechen Republic, recorded in Grozny by an employee of the Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, also prove this. I have a transcript of these materials here on this disc.


For example, on 1st July this year during the NOVOSTI news programme at 10pm on the GROZNY television station, there was a meeting shown between the President of the Chechen Republic and the Minister of Interior Affairs of the Chechen Republic. R. Kadyrov gives instructions that work on the territories of Dagestan and Ingushetia should be stepped up. He even points out in which particular area of Ingushetia work needs to be intensified. The Minister of Interior Affairs, Mr Alkhanov, replies, “Your orders will be carried out”, i.e. he takes R. Kadyrov’s words as instructions from his leader, which he is obliged to carry out.


Another example. On 24th May this year the GROZNY television station showed a programme called “SPECIAL REPORT” at 22.40 during which the head of the District Office of Inernal Affairs (OVD) from the Sunzhenskii district, Aslan Makhmatkhadzhiev, who whilst speaking about the activities in his district, said the following words: “We follow the orders of the President of the Chechen Republic”. This shows that not only the Minister of Internal Affairs in the Chechen Republic, but also his subordinates, understand R. Kadyrov as their leader/boss, a man whose orders and commands, they have to carry out.


I would like to request that these materials be attached to the case materials.


- this is also proved by materials from information agencies and the mass media, in which it is often said that Kadyrov is personally leading one or another of the special operations.


For example, INTERFAX stated on 4th September:

The operation to detain the terrorist-suicide bombers, was carried out under conditions of strict secrecy and under the direct leadership of the President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov right from the preparation stage”.

(See: http://www.interfax-russia.ru/r/B/eventday/415.html?id_issue=12302399)

I draw your attention to the words “right from the preparation stage”. This shows that we are talking about a lengthy process of leadership.


There was no denial, neither from R. Kadyrov nor from any other officials. More than that, Ramzan Kadyrov himself said in an interview in “Komsomolskaya Pravda”: “I personally lead this operation, when they were detained”. (http://www.kp.ru/daily/24360/546250). I would like to request that both this statement and the interview be attached to the case materials.


Thus, it is obvious that R. Kadyrov is providing direct and constant leadership/ management of the law enforcement agencies in the Chechen Republic.


Proof that R. Kadyrov is responsible for the gross violations of human rights that are carried out by those officials of the civil administration and the law enforcement agencies under his control, is as follows:


- public pronouncements by R. Kadyrov himself.

In our possession on this disc, there is a recording of Kadyrov’s appearance on the GROZNY television channel on 23rd May this year on the programme “ITOGI”, which was shown at 20.00.


R. Kadyrov said the following. I quote: “Vallakhi” (“I swear to Allah!”). Wahhabis and anyone who even has the slightest smell of wahhabism will be destroyed. I swear to Allah. If they do not take their children home, I will not let them live on this earth. They have to either take their bastard children home and put them in a pen or kill them. I swear to Allah! We won’t even detain them, but will just kill them on the spot. Then we won’t even let anyone say their names”.


Extrajudicial execution cannot have any justification, even if we are speaking about terrorists. According to the norms of Russian legislations, any person suspected of committing a crime, must be detained, then their guilt must be proved and then only the court can decide their punishment. Kadyrov is saying publicly that they will be destroyed. They will not be detained – but specifically that they will be destroyed. People who practise a certain type of Islam and even those against whom there is only the slightest suspicion of this (“the smell of wahhabism”). He is threatening the relatives of those who joined the rebels (boeviks). And all this is being said publically by the man who is named in the Constitution of the Chechen Republic to “defend the rights and freedoms of individuals and the citizen”!


This alone would be enough to prove that Ramzan Kadyrov is personally actively facilitating the creation in the Chechen Republic of an atmosphere of impunity, as this pronouncement can be taken as an order to action.


On the very next day, at 22.40 on 24th May this year, during the “SPECIAL REPORT” programme on the GROZNY television station they showed an article during which the head of the OVD from the Sunzhenskii district, Aslan Makhmatkhadzhiev wittingly and publicly promoted these illegal demands against relatives of those suspected of being involved with illegal armed formations (NVF). There is a recording of his words on this disc.



I answered responsibly, that those people who have sent their children to the mountains, to these evil rebels and rebels, that their ignorance won’t be taken into account as an excuse as a consequence. If you don’t want to take responsibility for your children, then go to the Mosque and denounce them”.


It is clear that an officer of the militia/ police does not have any right to demand that citizens carry out this action or any other in a religious building for fear of being blamed for the actions of their children.


Pronouncements of this type are not accidental, nor are they rare.


For example, on 16th June this year on the “GROZNY” television station during the “NOVOSTI” (news) programme at 22.07 a meeting was shown between the head of the administration of the city of Grozny, Muslim Khuchiev, and relatives of members of illegal armed formations (NVF).

The presenter introduced the meeting by saying:

Khuchiev has made an important announcement, which leads to the following, that from now on when the next assault or terrorist act by rebels takes place, then relatives and close members of the underground grouping will be held responsible”.


Now I am quoting a public pronouncement of the head of the administration of the City of Grozny: “Yesterday the President told us and we are telling you that from 16th this responsibility will begin. From this day you will be responsible for the stability in your districts, whether it is the Staropromyslovskii District or the Leninskii District. If something happens there, any incident at all, anything bad, that these devils have been getting up to, then it will be the father, the brother or the sister of a member of an illegal armed formation living in this district who will pay for it”.


This means that by order of Ramzan Kadyrov on the territory of the Chechen Republic the practise of taking hostages is being allowed, something that is prohibited by the international agreements which Russia has signed.


On 1st July this year on the “GROZNY” television channel during the “NOVOSTI” programme at 22.30 that day they showed an announcement by the Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation from the Chechen Republic, Adam Delimkhanov.


We have a recording of his appearance on the programme on this disc and the text has been put on the site: (http://www.hro.org/node/6340). I would like to ask for this statement to be attached to the case materials.


Amongst other things Adam Delimkhanov stated:

Anyone who fights us with a gun in their hand, or who sympathises with them, or who even thinks about supporting these devils, we will destroy them”.

End of the quotation. By devils, the Deputy means the rebels fighters (boeviks).


This means that the Deputy is making a statement that people will be destroyed, people who haven’t even been suspected of committing a crime, but of thought crime. This means that in today’s Chechen Republic Orwell’s disutopia of 1984 has become reality and people have been subjected to repression for precisely “thought crime”. All this is in direct conflict to Russian legislation and international human rights law. In order to understand the importance of this statement it is necessary to take into account that before he became Deputy, Adam Delimkhanov was the Deputy Chair of the Government of the Chechen Republic (i.e. Deputy to Ramzan Kadyrov) and he managed the law enforcement arm. This year the President of the Chechen Republic made an official statement: “I consider it vital to note that Adam Delimkhanov is my close companion in arms, my friend, my brother, more than that he is my right arm. And any criticism of him I will take as though it has been made against me personally”. This was read out on 6th April on the GROZNY television channel at 21.30 during the “NOVOSTI” (news) programme and was quoted in many of the mass media. And in an interview only just published in the newspaper “Zavtra” (No. 39, 2009), R. Kadyrov mandated A. Delimkhanova as his successor.


The situation is not just limited to threats.

Materials collected by human rights organisations prove this.

- Here are some materials by the Human Rights Centre “Memorial” showing how members of the Republican law enforcement agencies regularly burn down the houses of families whose relatives are suspected of involvement in illegal armed formulations.

http://www.memo.ru/hr/hotpoints/caucas1/msg/2009/03/m162902.htm

http://www.memo.ru/2009/06/26/2606091.html

Nataliya Estemirova took part in preparing these documents. I move for them to be attached to the case materials.


- There is also a report by the authoritative international human rights organisation, Human Rights Watch, called “Atonement for your children. House Burning in Chechnya as a means of collective punishment” [The English version of the report is called, “What Your Children Do Will Touch Upon You”].

- Here is a report from another authoritative human rights organisation, International Amnesty, in which they speak of systematic violations of human rights in the Chechen Republic. I move for these materials to be attached to the materials of the case.

- I think it is also important to refer to the opinion of the Commissioner for Human Rights from the Council of Europe, Tomas Hammarberg as proof of the truthfulness of the picture as described by me. During a visit to the North Caucasus this month he asked a question about the practise of burning down the houses of families whose relatives have supposedly gone underground. This type of mob rule is impermissible”, he remarked. This is what the Commissioner said at his press conference in Moscow on 10th September this year. Kadyrov agreed that it was necessary to put an end to this type of crime. (http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4676473,00.html?maca=rus-rss_rus_yandex_new_comments_2-4163-xml). I.e. Ramzan Kadyrov did not deny the fact that this type of practise is taking place.


Your honour, I am continuing to prove that what has is happening in the Chechen Republic is a situation whereby serious crimes can be committed systematically and with impunity, when human rights are violated, and that this gave me the grounds to come to the opinion that Ramzan Kadyrov is unconditionally politically guilty of the death of Nataliya Estemirova.


- My opinion about the political guilt of Ramzan Kadyrov is based on the long standing work that our organisation has done in the Chechen Republic. Its results are exemplified in particular in correspondence with the bodies of the prosecutor’s office. We have collected together our enquiries and the answers from the prosecutor’s office here just from the most disturbing cases, such as the public shooting of a person who was suspected of aiding rebel fighters, the death of a person who had been seriously wounded during his time in an illegal prison in the hometown of Ramzan Kadyrov, Tsentoroi, the kidnappings, torture, disappearances. In these cases there are grounds to state that officials from the government law enforcement structures were involved in the crimes. In each case the prosecutor’s office recognises that a crime has taken place and opens criminal cases. But the guilty are not found.

-proof can also be found in the materials prepared for the many cases for the European Court of Human Rights on the kidnappings of people that took place not long before the kidnapping and murder of Nataliya Estemirova. Natasha Estemirova was collecting information on these cases.


From the materials for the submissions is it absolutely clear that only representatives of the government could have realised these kidnappings in circumstances whereby they are absolutely out of control and acting with impunity.


- Attesting to the political responsibility of Ramzan Kadyrov, I must draw your attention to a report by the International Federation of Human Rights (IFHR) and the Human Rights Centre “Memorial” – “Torture in Chechnya: the “stabilisation” of the nightmare”. (http://www.memo.ru/hr/hotpoints/N-Caucas/docl1/index.htm). In this report there are numerous examples of the use of torture in the Chechen Republic from 2004 – 2006 and the unwillingness of the authorities to take any steps at that time to rectify the situation. We are talking about a period in time when Ramzan Kadyrov held the post of First Vice Premier of the Chechen Republic, managing the law enforcement arm, for the Chair of the Government and then Chair of the Government of the Chechen Republic


As you can see from the evidence that I have presented, human rights organisations are protesting against violations of human rights in the Chechen Republic and are trying to bring the guilty to justice. However, they often come up against not just the indifference of the authorities but direct hostility from them.

High up Republican officials publicly represent staff from independent human rights organisations as enemies of the Republic, and as aiding terrorists. The evidence for this is as follows:


- On 24th July this year at a press conference the President of the Chechen Republic, said the following when answering a question about his opinion on the ending of the Counter Terrorism Operation (CTO) regime on the territory of Chechnya:

I will repeat again, that some political scientists and experts, that as a rule they are “under someone[‘s orders]”. […….] Stability and regeneration of the economy in the Chechen Republic are not agreeable to many people. They order these materials from these experts. They make things up! [……..] Those people who speak there are spouting propaganda. I consider their actions to be equal to those of bandits, terrorists and criminals”.

(http://www.ej.ru/?a=note&id=9287)


A recording of this is on the disc. There is also an article with a quotation of these words and I move to request that they be attached to the case materials.


You can hardly doubt that comparing experts with a different opinion to yourself to “bandits, terrorists and criminals” from the mouth of Ramzan Kadyrov can appear as a threat directed towards those experts, some of whom included representatives of the Human Rights Centre “Memorial”. Nataliya Estemirova in particular appeared as an expert after the CTO was abolished on 19th April on the radio station “Ekho Moskvy”. In her presentation the situation in the Chechen Republic after the abolishment of the CTO was described in an entirely different way to the description given by Ramzan Kadyrov at the press conference.


After the CTO was abolished I also gave several interviews as an expert for many mass media outlets, in which I commentated upon the abolishment of the CTO in the Chechen Republic, giving information on the systematic and serious violations of human rights on the territory of the Chechen Republic.


The Human Rights Centre “Memorial” released its regular bulletin on 3rd July 2007 three weeks before Kadyrov’s press conference. (http://www.memo.ru/2009/07/03/0307091.htm). The bulletin contains an analysis of the situation in the Chechen Republic after the abolishment of the CTO and it was shown that losses from the law enforcement agencies had actually grown and that it was still early to talk about stability.


Thus, staff from the Human Rights Centre Memorial had every reason to believe that the evaluations given by them in the bulletin and in their interviews in the press had upset Ramzan Kadyrov and it was Memorial staff whom he was comparing to terrorists in his presentation at the press conference.


A week after Ramzan Kadyrov’s press conference, Adam Delikhanov, Kadyrov’s “right arm” was on the NOVOSTI (news) programme on the GROZNY television channel at 22.30. He repeated Kadyrovs thesis and strengthened it:


There are people who call themselves human rights defenders, who help these devils and evil-doers. They practically supplement their activity and their aims are the same. They hold conversations and make statements about the militia and other things. [….] The evil that they are doing is great indeed, as is the evil done by those who are in the woods. [….] Whether they are Chechens or Ingush, they should know that they will be taken to task for these conversations. We will also take to task those who have followed this evil for saying things like this [….]”.

It is important to point out that A. Delimkhanov finishes his speech with the following words:

Those who fight against us, whether with a gun in their hands or who sympathise with them, or even support these devils with their thoughts, then we will annihilate them in any case”.

(http://www.hro.org/node/6340)


Thus, at the beginning A. Delikhanov announces that human rights defenders are practically accomplices to terrorists (“devils”) then at the end he announces that everyone who even thinks of supporting these “devils” will be annihilated.


This type of public comment by officials has created a situation in the Chechen Republic in which it has become extremely dangers to even call yourself a “human rights defender”.


So I have offered proof that under the President of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, officials who are controlled by him commit gross violations of human rights. They say publicly that they are prepared to carry out his illegal commands. Under these conditions both Razman Kadyrov and his “right arm” Dekimkhanov have publicly compared critics of their actions (experts and human rights defenders) to terrorists. They declare publicly that everyone who is even remotely suspected of complicity in terrorism should be annihilated.


Based on the above, I and the other members of “Memorial” had grounds after the kidnapping and murder of Natasha Estemirova to believe and to even be sure that the President of the Chechen Republic, R. Kadyrov was guilty of killing Nataliya Estemirova, meaning he was politically guilty as the head of the Republic, who bears responsibility for what happens there.


My words: “Ramzan has already threatened Nataliya, insulted her, and considered her to be his personal enemy” correspond to reality.


These words of mine are dissected and explained in more detail by others I say.

When Natasha allowed herself to disapprove of the fact that girls were practically being forced to wear headscarves in public places, she had a conversation with Kadyrov. She told us that he threatened her, that he said literally: “Yes, my arms are up to the elbows in blood. I am not ashamed of that. I have killed and I will kill bad people. We are fighting the Republic’s enemies””.


Speaking of insults and threats, I was referring to the last meeting with Natalia Estemirova, which took place on 31st March in Grozny at the Palace of Youth. It was not a public meeting, apart from Kadyrov, the Mayor of Grozny Muslim Khuchiev was present. After the meeting ended, on the same day, N. Estemirova described the meeting to me by telephone. Later, when she visited Moscow in early April, she gave a more detailed account of it to colleagues and acquaintances.


Ramzan Kadyrov let fly at Estemirova with sharp attacks, and bouts of shouting. The main reason for this was the public statements Estemirova had made against attempts to introduce an administrative requirement in the Chechen Republic on the compulsory wearing of headscarves by women in public places. The President of the Chechen Republic did not stop there. He said that the HR centre “Memorial” was distributing unsubstantiated information that tarnished the leadership of the republic, and that he did not see any positive results to be gained from cooperation with human rights organisations. From Estemirova herself, Kadyrov demanded that she cease visiting the ministries and departments under the control of the President of the Chechen Republic. He also, as N. Estemirova reported, firmly announced that she would no longer be carrying out human rights work in Chechnya.


The words «Yes, my hands are up to the elbows in blood. And I am not ashamed of this. I have killed and will kill bad people. We are fighting the enemies of the republic”, as N. Estemirova reported, were pronounced after R.Kadyrov bluntly announced that he was removing Estemirova from the post of Chairperson of the Grozny Public Council for assistance in ensuring the rights and freedoms of individuals and citizens. Estemirova herself undoubtedly regarded these words as a threat.

According to N. Estemirova, the whole conversation took place in an offensive tone towards her. In addition, during the conversation Kadyrov said that “decent Chechen women” do not go about bare-headed. (N. Estemirova had come to the Palace of Youth without a shawl on her head). He asked her if she was not worried about the effects of her behaviour on her daughter.

We have no reason, either then or now, not to trust the version of events given by N. Estemirova. In May 2008, our organisation, with the help of Amnesty International, sent Nataliya Estemirova on a training course in the UK for several months, out of concern for her security. Natasha took her daughter with her.

I think it is important to emphasize, that the objective resentment and extreme hostility of the plaintiff towards Nataliya Estemirova is confirmed by R. Kadyrov’s own words: even after the murder of the human rights activist he could not refrain from insulting her.

Thus, in an interview on Radio Liberty (http://www.svobodanews.ru/content/article/1795518.html)) after the murder of Estemirova R.A.Kadyrov said the following: “Why would Kadyrov kill a woman who is not needed by anyone? She never did possess honour, dignity or conscience, but I still appointed her chairperson of the Council”.
From this offensive excerpt, it follows that R. Kadyrov had a hostile attitude to her personally, even before he appointed her Chairperson of the council in the beginning of 2008. Even before this he knew her and had formed a clear and sharply negative view about her.


I assume that his negative attitude towards her was formed after their first meeting. The plaintiff writes in the prosecution case “I met Estemirova a little over two years ago during a meeting with human rights defenders”. This is not true.


The first meeting of Ramzan Kadyrov and Nataliya Estemirova took place more than five years ago – in July 2004, when Natasha accompanied the journalist of “Novaya Gazeta” Anna Politkovskaya to Kadyrov’s residence in the village of Tsentoroi. Politkovskaya interviewed Kadyrov, the interview was published in “Novaya Gazeta” on 21.06.2004 (http://politkovskaya.novayagazeta.ru/pub/2004/2004-051.shtml). Estemirova was present during the conversation between Politkovskaya and Kadyrov. Judging by what Estemirova said about what happened in Kadyrov’s residence then, his hostile attitude towards her could have started at that time.


I and my colleague, Svetlana Gannushkina were also informed about the blatant hostility of R.Kadyrov towards N. Estemirova in a conversation on 21 February 2008, in Grozny airport with the advisor to the President of the Chechen Republic, Timur Aliev, who was then preparing an upcoming meeting between representatives of the HR centre “Memorial” and R. Kadyrov.


My words: “We do not know whether he gave the order himself or if this was done by his closest associates, to please their boss" – is not a statement of facts and events. I say that we do not know if one or other of these persons gave this order.

On the contrary, these words show that I did not claim that Ramzan Kadyrov was directly involved in the organisation of the kidnapping and murder of Nataliya Estemirova. We do not know who exactly gave the order. However, I believe, and said, that a version of events (one version!) of such direct involvement should be considered and investigated, regardless of the extent to which this version may be distasteful and unacceptable to the authorities.

In any case, based on what I know about Natasha Estemirova, about her work, about the conditions in which she worked, from everything I have said before, I have formed a deep conviction that this murder was connected with the human rights work of Natasha Estemirova. It is obvious that the main incentive for the murder was to silence the human rights activist. This statement by Ramzan Kadyrov himself and his “right hand” A. Delimkhanov made on television of course, indicated to representatives of the state structures in the Chechen Republic, including law enforcement officials, that human rights activists who publicly speak out about human rights violations in Chechnya, displease the authorities, and moreover are in fact accomplices of terrorists.


My words “And President Medvedev, apparently is happy to have a murderer as the head of one of the subjects of the Russian Federation”, are founded on the many statements of the Plaintiff, which have been reported by different media sources and are not contradicted by the Plaintiff. He himself confirms his participation in the killings of various individuals and his positive attitude to such participation. I have no reason not to trust the President of the Chechen Republic in this case.

Thus, in an interview in “Novaya Gazeta” http://politkovskaya.novayagazeta.ru/pub/2004/2004-051.shtml), published on 21 June 2004, the Plaintiff acknowledged that he gave orders to kill people:

And did you give orders to kill?

 “I did give them”.

Were you not scared?”

It is not me – it is Allah. The Prophet said: Wahhabis must be destroyed”.

Thus the Plaintiff admits that he was an accomplice in the form of its organisation or incitement. In addition, in October 2005, Ramzan Kadyrov said in an interview with the correspondent of the men’s’ magazine GQ said the following:

"He whom I was supposed to kill, I have already killed. But I will also kill those who stand behind him, to the very last man, until I am killed myself or put in jail. I will kill as long as I am still alive”. (http://www.newsru.com/russia/05oct2005/kadyrov.html).


In January 2008, Kadyrov admitted in an interview with Ekho Moskvy (http://www.echo.msk.ru/programs/beseda/492292-echo/), that he had participated in the murder of several persons, whom he considers were involved in the murder of his father.

I move for the admission of these publications to the case.

In addition, I have already quoted Kadyrov’s words, which he publicly said in a statement shown on “Grozny” television on 23rd May:
"Wahhabists and those from whom there is the slightest smell of Wahhabism will be destroyed.[….] We will not even detain them, but simply kill them on the spot.

In these statements the Plaintiff directly and openly admits the facts of murders committed by him, being an accomplice to murder and intent to commit murder in the future, commenting on these actions and intentions as if they were positive.

Therefore, my words were a natural conclusion drawn from statements made by R.Kadyrov himself.



The words from the statement of the Human Rights Centre “Memorial”: “We know that the last report from Natasha on new abductions, extrajudicial executions, public execution in the middle of one Chechen village caused resentment amongst the leadership of Chechnya” is true.

Four days before the murder of Natalia Estemirova, on 10 July 2009, the Commissioner for Human Rights in Chechnya Nurdi Nuhazhievym invited the manager of the Grozny branch of Memorial, Shakhman Akbulatov to his office. According to Akbulatov, N. Nuhazhievym told him at this meeting that Ramzan Kadyrov had called him and sharply demanded an explanation about recent “Memorial” publications on the website “Kavkazsky Uzel” (Caucasian Knot). These publications were written by Natasha Estemirova herself.

Nurdi Nukhazhiev advised to exercise caution and flexibility in our work. Next I quote from the account by Akbulatov himself, published on the site “Human Rights in Russia”. (http://www.hro.org/node/6341): “These are restless times: he is afraid that something will happen. He referred to Anna Politkovskaya, who, had she shown caution and flexibility, would still be alive and working for the cause.” I have this account here with the certified signature of Akbulatov. I will ask for this to be included in the materials of the case.


It is important to emphasize that the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Chechen Republic discussed with the representative of Memorial, not how to verify these reports in a better and more effective way, but clearly expressed his fear for the lives of Memorial staff.

On the same day and on the day of the murder of Natasha Estemirova the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Chechen Republic issued a statement with harsh criticism of human rights organisations, including Memorial, for reports on the negative human rights situation in Chechnya. He drew particular attention to reports of kidnappings and the burning of homes, exactly the issues covered in Estemirova’s reports. I draw your attention to the fact that these statements are available on the official website of the President and the Government of the Chechen Republic and, thus, express the position of the authorities of this republic.

http://www.chechnya.gov.ru/page.php?r=179&id=225

http://www.chechnya.gov.ru/page.php?r=179&id=227

I am applying for the admission of those statements to the case.

In this way, the words above are shown to be true.


The words “Ramzan Kadyrov has made work impossible for human rights defenders in the Republic" does not contain information that does not correspond to reality, but are the opinion of an expert assessment of the situation in the Chechen Republic under the leadership of its current President.

I and my colleagues at the Human Rights Centre “Memorial” do not literally argue that Ramzan Kadyrov has made work impossible for all people who consider themselves and who are considered to be human rights activists. Undoubtedly, the work of the official “human rights” structures in the Chechen Republic, who are not independent of the state structures, continues.


During my two meetings with Ramzan Kadyrov, he summed up the meeting with a statement that he does not understand why we need independent public organizations. He suggested we change our mode of activities, instead of publishing facts publicly, we should tell him personally so that he can solve the problems in one way or another the problems. That is, he suggested that we fit into their established chain of command, to become, in essence, an adjunct of the state machine.







Human rights defenders face threats, and are not protected by the authorities.

An example is the case when on 17 June 2008 four representatives of the Human Rights Centre “Memorial” – Shakhman Akbulatov, Zarema Mukusheva, Milan Bihaeva and Yaragi Gayrbekov were illegally detained by representatives of the Department of internal affairs of the Urus-Martan district. The “Memorial” representatives had tried to film the building owned by the State farm “Solnechny”. Numerous sources have told us that in the past kidnapped and illegally detained people were held in this building. Some of them subsequently disappeared. Now the building is unoccupied.

Armed men in civilian clothes confiscated the documents and video camera from the Memorial staff, and passed them to the Urus-Martan district police department. The police destroyed the footage, were very rude and threatened to shoot (http://www.memo.ru/hr/hotpoints/caucas1/index.htm). Reports on the detentions and confiscation of materials were not completed. Only after the detention became known about in Moscow and the media was informed of what had happened, were all four detainees released.

A complaint was sent to the procurator with a request to initiate criminal proceedings against police officers. Over a year has passed. Since that time decisions have been repeatedly imposed and overturned on the refusal to initiate criminal proceedings. Additional tests have been conducted. But no one has been brought to justice.

Is it any wonder that human rights defenders are now being killed?


  Non-governmental human rights organizations continue to work in the Chechen Republic, They are our colleagues, for whom I have great respect. But they are working in impossible conditions. They are forced to engage in constant self-censorship. And if they say things that might cause the dissatisfaction of the authorities, then when communicating with the media, they ask for their names to be used, nor their organisations names because of fears for their safety. Members of these organizations are hesitant to investigate cases of gross human rights violations by law enforcement agencies.

When speaking about the impossibility for human rights defenders to work, I mean the inability to undertake real work.

In the 1920s and 1930s in the Soviet Union apart from the many openly dependent pseudo-public organisations the organisation “Political Red Cross” legally operated. It was an organisation which could be called a human rights organisation and a humanitarian one.

It operated in impossible conditions and offered real help to many people. However, this organisation could not openly speak out about the nature of the totalitarian regime or halt massive repression, nor prevent the destruction of other public organisations. Therefore, the presence of this organisation by itself does not make the following statement untrue: Stalin and his system made it impossible for public organizations to work in the USSR”.


Based on the above, the demands made in the Statement of Ramzan Kadyrov, are, in my opinion, unfounded and not subject to satisfaction.


Oleg Petrovich Orlov,

Defendant in the [defamation] lawsuit of Ramzan Akmatovich Kadyrov to defend his honour, dignity and professional reputation, and compensation for moral damages.


25.09.2009