Russian human rights activist murdered in Chechnya

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.


Natalya Estemirova, who was brutally murdered on 15/07/2009, stands in front of a photo of Anna Politskaya at the Frontline Club in London. Estemirova was the Chechnya-based head of Memorial, Russia's oldest human rights group. In 2007 she was awarded the inaugural Anna Politkovskaya Prize, in honour of the investigative journalist murdered in 2006. Photo © Jenny Matthews, 2008, courtesy of Panos Pictures.

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.


One response to “Russian human rights activist murdered in Chechnya

  1. johnette napolitano

    Great work Miranda as usual.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s