On the evening of 15 July 2009, the Memorial Human Rights Centre made a special announcement about the murder of Natalia Estemirova.
"Today our friend and colleague, a person dear to us, was murdered. For almost ten years Natasha was the leading staff member of Memorial in the North Caucasus region, especially in Chechnya. She not only gathered information about the violations of human rights, she was a defender of human rights, in capital letters, a protector of the people.
"The residents of Chechnya were the victims of bombings, 'cleansings', abductions, tortures -- Natasha tried to help all of them. She demanded the impossible of the authorities -- to put an end to the lawlessness. At times she was successful in this -- confidence in the justice of her work, and in the power of the law, gave her strength. This work made Natasha famous throughout all of Chechnya, people were drawn to her, hoping for protection, or at least that the lawlessness would not remain a secret.
"Natasha was often threatened by officials of all ranks, but she couldn't imagine herself not doing her work, in her homeland, in Chechnya."
In particular, the words of Oleg Orlov, the president of the Memorial council, were quoted in the announcement: "[...] Ramzan Kadyrov had already threatened Natalia, insulted her, considered her his personal enemy. We don't know whether he himself gave the order, or his closest associates, in order to oblige the leaders [...]"
"We know that the last of the reports that Natasha prepared, about new kidnappings, about arbitrary executions, about the public shooting in the middle of one of the Chechen villages, provoked indignation at the higher levels of the Chechen ruling class. That's what the so-called human rights commissioner for Chechnya, Nurdi Nukhazhiev, told the director of our Grozny office. He declared that he didn't want anything to happen, therefore he would lash out at the human rights activists.
"We ran a risk, which turned out to be unjustified. We are very much to blame.
"Let's call things by their right names. A state terror is being created in Russia. We know about murders in Chechnya and beyond the borders of Chechnya. They murder everyone who tries to speak the truth, to criticize those in power. Ramzan Kadyrov made it impossible for human rights activists to do their work in the republic. Those who murdered Natasha Estemirova wanted to terminate the flow of truthful information from Chechnya.
"And perhaps they succeeded in that."
Source: Ïðàâîçàùèòíûé Öåíòð "Ìåìîðèàë" îá óáèéñòâå Íàòàëüè Ýñòåìèðîâîé
Original article published on July 15, 2009
About the author
Agatha Haun is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, translator and reviser are cited.
URL of this article on Tlaxcala: http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=8201&lg=en