Murder most foul

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

4 thoughts on “Murder most foul

  1. That is shocking! Her poor daughter, my heart goes out to her. Losing her Mum at such a young age is bad enough, but to know that she was murdered must be terrible. I hope that someone else takes over where she left off.

  2. So nice to see you cover this sad death, and give it a human side.

    As you said, Ms. Estemirova was investigating allegations that President Kadyrov has previously participated in torture, which resulted in the death of some detainees, at the time of her murder.

    Vladimir Putin, then President of Russia, is responsible as for the appointment of Ramzan A. Kadyrov as Chechen President in 2007.

    For Russia to keep its credibility on the world political stage, Russia must to step in and find those responsible for Natalya Estemirova’s death.

  3. And now Ramzan Kadyrov is suing Oleg Orlov, the head of the Russian Rights group “Memorial” because he dared to state that Kadyrov is directly or indirectly responsible for Estemirova’s murder.
    The fate of many activists in Russia is similiar to those in Iran, yet Medvedev (Putin’s puppet?) is fettered on the stage of world leaders.

    I hope I am wrong, but I don’t believe there will be a conviction for Estemirova’s death

  4. Human rights watch and Amnesty International do a great job as organizations. If you’re an individual living in Chehchnya, you’ve got to be insane to fight on your own. Unless you’ve got a death wish and want to go down in history as a martyr. A lot of good it does your children!

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