The murder of Natalia Estemirova, a human rights activist based in Chechnya, is so brazen and so appalling I can hardly believe it is true.
This is a woman who worked tirelessly to expose human rights abuses, to protect people and help them. Her kidnapping and subsequent murder is cruel beyond belief and almost certainly organised by those she sought to expose; among them the Russian sponsored Chechen president.
She was bundled into a car outside her home where she lives with her 15-year-old daughter. Someone heard her shout “I am being taken”. Next thing she was found dead on the notorious ‘Kidnap Highway’ with bullet wounds in her head and chest.
“I can’t imagine Mum won’t be around any more and that I won’t be making morning coffee for her,” said her daughter Lana who is now an orphan. Estemirova was a widow.
The international community has of course condemned the murder, but until someone actually says or does something concrete the Russians will carry on with impunity. Since 2000, 17 journalists have been killed including Anna Politkovskaya and many others involved in investigations that could harm those in power. Only one case has resulted in a conviction. Funny that.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2009