Natalia Estemirova, Human Rights Defender is Brutally Slained
Natalia Estemirova, a top human rights activist in the troubled Russian republic of Chechnya and a close colleague of Human Rights Watch, was abducted near her home in Grozny on the morning of July 15, 2009, carried off in a car as people on a nearby balcony heard her call for help. Her body was found later that day in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia.
Estemirova was a researcher with the leading Russian human rights group Memorial for a decade and had worked closely with Human Rights Watch, including on its recent investigations into the punitive killings and house burnings against people suspected by Chechen authorities of having links to rebels. She was named a top human rights defender by Human Rights Watch in 2007 under its Voices for Justice program. She received the European Parliament's Robert Schuman medal in 2005, and the "Right to Life" award from the Swedish Parliament in 2004. She was the first recipient of the Anna Politkovskaya prize, in honor of the slain Russian journalist.