For Immediate Release: July 15, 2009
“The killing today of Russian human rights activist Natalya Estemirova is further evidence of the urgent need for the Russian authorities to take effective action to bring to an end a mounting wave of violence against human rights activists, independent journalists and other non-violent critics of the Russian government, ” said Neil Hicks, International Policy Advisor for Human Rights First. Estemirova’s murder is sadly the latest in a growing list of targeted killings of human rights defenders. Many of these murders remain unresolved creating a culture of impunity that has contributed to the growing number of deaths. “It is time for President Medvedev to demonstrate his stated commitment to the rule of law by finding those responsible for Natalya Estemirova’s murder, and those responsible for the murders of other activists, and bringing them to justice,” added Hicks.
Human Rights First mourns the passing of our colleague Natalya Estemirova, a fifty-year-old mother of a teenage daughter. We extend our condolences to her family and friends and to her colleagues at Memorial and in the Russian human rights community.