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Russian rights activist kidnapped and killed

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Russian rights activist kidnapped and killed


A leading Russian human rights activist has been kidnapped and later found dead. Natalia Estemirova worked for the Russian group Memorial. Of Chechen origin, she was based in the capital Grozny. She had worked closely with the campaigning Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in Moscow three years ago.

This morning, Estemirova was seized as she left for work, bundled into a car and driven away. Her body was later found across the border in neighbouring Ingushetia, in woods near the city of Nazran. She had suffered two bullet wounds to the head. Estemirova was a well-known defender of human rights in Russia, and her work publicising arbitrary executions in Chechnya had infuriated the pro-Moscow authorities. She had also exposed extra-judicial killings during the two wars between Russian forces and Chechen separatists after the fall of the Soviet Union. President Medvedev is said to be outraged by her murder and has ordered an investigation.

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