The kidnapping and murder of human rights activist Natalia Estemirova has sparked a storm of international condemnation.
Estemirova was abducted in the Chechen capital Grozny, shot twice in the head and her body dumped in woodland. Russian President Dimitry Medvedev speaking in Germany as the campaigner was laid to rest said: “She told the truth and openly, sometimes harshly, she spoke about things that happen in our country, this is where the value of her work lay, her murder must not go unpunished.” Mermorial, the Russian human rights group has accused Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed President, Ramzan Kadyrov or his associates of her assassination. Kadyrov has denied any involvement and vowed to investigate her murder. The Russian head of the Helsinki Group Ludmila Alexeyeva also pointed the finger of blame at Kadyrov. “Again, why do so many of the personal enemies of President Kadyrov end up dead, not just in Chechnya, but in other places, yet he remains president and there are no legal proceedings against him.” Estrimova was close friends with journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was gunned down in her apartment building in Moscow in 2006. Her killer or killers remain at large.