07/16/2009, 00.00
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Allegations against Chechen president Kadyrov over murder of journalist Estemirova

Kidnapped in Grozny yesterday morning her body was found in Nazran in Ingushetia. She had been investigating crimes committed by Russian soldiers in Chechnya. Human rights activist who had won numerous awards, she was considered the heir to Politkovskaya her friend and colleague.

Oscan (AsiaNewe / Agencies) - "I know and I am sure who is guilty of the murder of Natalya. His name is Ramzan Kadyrov”.  Oleg Orlov, chairman of Memorial - the organisation for which she worked - accuses the president of Chechnya, for the murder of journalist Natalya Estemirova (see photo) found murdered yesterday in Ingushetia. On the organization’s website (www.memo.ru) Orlov writes that "Ramsan had already threatened Natalya, insulted her and he considered her his personal enemy."

Russian President Medvedev said he is "outraged" by the murder and a Kremlin spokesman says the President has given orders "to the Office of the Prosecutor Alexander Bastrykin to do everything possible to investigate the assassination”.  But the murder of the a 50 year-old journalist who for years had been investigating war crimes in Chechnya has already become another Politkovskaya case that is shaking Russia to its foundations.  

Estemirova was kidnapped and killed yesterday. Forcibly abducted in front of her home in Grozny at 8.30 am, she disappeared into thin air until her body was found at 4:30 pm near the town of Nazran, Ingushetia.  

The murdered journalist had received numerous international awards for her work covering all the Caucasus’ republics. In 2004 the Swedish parliament awarded her the Right Livelihood Award, known as the alternative Nobel Peace Prize, in 2005 she received the Robert Schuman Prize from the European Parliament, in 2007 she was awarded the prize in honour of  her friend and colleague Anna Politkovskaya.  

Estemirova was one of the most significant voices of investigative journalism in Russia and the public face of  NGO Memorial, one of the oldest organizations in the Federation involved in the defence of civil rights since the time of Mikhail Gorbacev, with who it began its work in 2000.


Her death adds one more name to a long list of assassinated journalists and activists who investigated and denounced violence and arbitrary executions by soldiers in Chechnya since the beginning of the conflict between separatists and the Russian army began after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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See also
Breakthrough in Politkovskaya case: alleged mastermind arrested
Moscow: assassins of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova arrested
Politkovskaia funeral turns into silent anti-Putin protest
Violations mar Chechen elections, pro-Russia candidate leading
Magomed Yevloyev, critic of the Kremlin, killed by police


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