This was sent through from Panos Pictures yesterday. “Russian human rights activist Natalia Estemirova was abducted as she left her home in Chechnya’s capital Grozny on Wednesday, 15 July. Her body was found in neighbouring Ingushetia with gunshot wounds. Ms Estemirova was gathering evidence for the Russian human rights organisation Memorial concerning serious human rights abuses by government-backed militiamen such as a campaign of house burning throughout the territory.”
Panos photographer Jenny Matthews met her in London in 2008 after she had been awarded the inaugural Anna Politkovskaya Prize for her work and took this photograph.
The murder of Natalia Estemirova is a dire warning writes UK Director of Amnesty International, Kate Allen in the Daily Telegraph. “There used to be three key people when it came to uncovering human rights abuses in Chechnya – the journalist Anna Politkovskaya, the lawyer Stanislav Markelov, and the human rights researcher Natalia Estemirova. In the space of less than three years, they’ve all now been murdered”.
See Amnesty report, 1 July, Russia: Ongoing abuses in North Caucasus lend lie to ‘Normalisation’ claim and Award-winning human rights campaigner murdered in Chechnya on The Guardian site which has a video where colleagues pay tribute to Estemirova.
I felt I needed to post the story as it resonates on a deep level. A very dear friend of mine Carlos Luis Caceres was brutally murdered in 2000 with two other UN colleagues. They worked for the UNHCR and were living in Atambua, West Timor providing humanitarian assistance to the 125,000 refugees who had remained in West Timor. It will be the ninth anniversary of his death on 6 September 2009. His father wrote an article Two of Three Killed in Timor were Hams. Carlos’s last email is heartbreaking to read.