• Press Release

10 Years Since the Killing of Chechen Human Rights Defender Natalia Estemirova, No Justice in Sight

July 15, 2019

A Russian woman holds a photograph of slain human rights activist Natalia Estemirova at a rally for police reform in Moscow on November 28, 2009. AFP PHOTO / ALEXEY SAZONOV (Photo credit should read Alexey SAZONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
On the tenth anniversary of the murder of prominent Chechen human rights defender Natalia Estemirova, Amnesty International and 12 international and Russian human rights groups are calling on the Russian authorities to fulfill their long-overdue obligation to effectively investigate this horrendous crime and bring the perpetrators to justice in fair trials.

“The courage and selflessness of Natalia Estemirova, who investigated abductions, extrajudicial executions and other grave violations of human rights in Chechnya, was unparalleled. There is no doubt that she paid with her life for this fearless work. Ten years on, the Russian authorities have manifestly failed to find the perpetrators of this crime and those who ordered it,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“We aren’t going to let anyone forget Natalia, or the victims of crimes under international law and human rights violations that have been, and continue to be, committed in Chechnya with the connivance of Russian federal authorities.”

The joint statement is signed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights, Front Line Defenders and Human Rights Centre Memorial among others.

On July 15 at 5.00 AM ET, Amnesty International’s supporters will also hold a commemorative rally at Lermontovskaya square in Moscow.


Natalia Estemirova, a prominent member of Russian Memorial Human Rights Centre, was abducted by unidentified armed men outside the apartment building where she lived in Grozny, Chechnya, on July 15, 2009. Her body with gunshot wounds was found a few hours later in the neighboring Republic of Ingushetia. No one has been so far brought to justice for her killing.