Freedom House Reiterates Calls for Justice on Third Anniversary of Natalya Estemirova’s Murder
On the third anniversary of the murder of Natalya Estemirova, a journalist and prominent human rights defender in the North Caucasus, Freedom House commemorates Estemirova’s life and work, and reiterates calls for Russian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. Estemirova devoted her life to defending human freedom and pressing for accountability for human rights abuses in Chechnya.
On July 15, 2009, unidentified men abducted Estemirova from near her home in Chechnya, took her to the neighboring Republic of Ingushetia, killed her, and left her body on the side of the road. Three years later, a federal investigation into the brutal murder has failed to name her killers. On the second anniversary of Estemirova’s tragic death, her colleagues and friends published the results of their own investigation into the murder, and posed questions to the federal authorities that remain unanswered to this day.
“The silence and apparent lack of interest by the federal authorities in solving such a heinous crime are tantamount to their tacit approval of the climate of impunity in the Russian Federation,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. “Impunity not only erodes trust in the Russian justice system, but also sets Russia on a self-destructive course.”
Freedom House renews calls for Russian authorities to fully investigate the possible involvement of Chechen officials in the disappearance and murder of Natalya Estemirova and calls on the government to end the climate of impunity that allows the murders of journalists and human rights defenders to go unpunished.
Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2012 and in Freedom of the Press 2012, which ranks it 172nd out of 197 countries for media freedom, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2011.
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