On the occasion of tomorrow’s anniversary of the murder of Russian human rights defender Natalia Estemirova, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Markus Löning, today (14 July) issued the following statement:
“A year ago we were very much shaken by the cruel and callous murder of Natalia Estemirova. She worked courageously to promote human rights in Russia and rendered outstanding services to the process of documenting human rights violations in the North Caucasus.
A year after this horrendous deed, the results of the investigation throw up more questions than they provide answers. The background to the murder has still not been sufficiently clarified. Here I see clear parallels to the cases of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya and the Ingush journalist Magomed Yevloyev, who were also murdered.
I call upon the Russian authorities not to wane in their efforts to find answers regarding these acts of violence. The murders must be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.”
Natalia Estemirova had been working for the Russian NGO Memorial in Chechnya since 2000. She was documenting extrajudicial killings, kidnappings, rapes and other serious human rights violations. She continued her work in the face of death threats. Natalia Estemirova was kidnapped near her apartment on 15 July 2009 and later found dead in the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia.