Killing of Natalia Estemirova
Our friend and colleague was killed today.
For almost ten years Natalia was the leading activist of HRC Memorial in
the North Caucasus, in Chechnya.
She did not only collect information about violations of human rights. She was
a true human rights activist standing for common people. Natalia
tried to help the victims of bombings, sweep-up operations, tortures. She
demanded that authorities did impossible things – stop illegal actions. And she
managed to succeed believing in her right cause and rule of law. Her work made Natalia famous throughout Chechnya. People came to her for
help hoping that the crimes would at least be given publicity.
Natalia was threatened many times by officials
of various levels. She never ceased working feeling that she was needed in Chechyna.
head of HRC Memorial Board, “I know for sure who is responsible for the
killing of Natalia Estemirova.
We all know that man. It is Ramzan Kadyrov, president of Chechen Republic.
Ramzan threatened Natalia,
insulted her, believed her to be his personal enemy. We
don't know whether it was Ramzan himself who ordered
to kill Natalia or his close associates did it to
please the ruling authority. And President Medvedev
seems satisfied to have a murderer as a head of one of Russia's
When Natasha made a
statement about young women of Chechnya
being almost forced to wear head scarves in public she was invited to an almost
private talk with Ramzan Kadyrov.
Natalia later shared that Kadyrov
threatened her and quoted him, “My hands are indeed covered in blood. And I'm
not ashamed of it. I was killing and will be killing bad people. We fight
against enemies of our republic.”
We know that latest news
releases about new abductions, extrajudicial executions, public
shooting of people in the middle of a Chechen village prepared by Natalia caused serious indignation of high rank authorities
We took the risk that was
not worth it. We are guilty of it.
is suffering from state terror. We know about killings in Chechnya and in
other regions. Those who try to tell the truth and express critique of the
authorities are being killed. Ramzan Kadyrov made it impossible for human rights activists to
work in Chechnya.
Those who killed Natalia Estemirova
wanted to block the flow of reliable information from Chechnya.
They seem to have succeeded