Four years ago today, early on the 15th of July, Natalya Estemirova was abducted by unidentified men in Grozny where she lived and worked as a human rights defender.
A few hours later, her body was found in neighbouring Ingushetia, Her hands were bound, two bullets in her chest and one in her head.
Her crime: researching and reporting on kidnappings, torture and murders, the ‘disappeared’ in Chechnya, and about the young men who had been abducted by death squads connected to the security forces. Her work for the human rights organisation Memorial earned her the hatred of many powerful figures.
No one has ever been charged and brought to justice for her murder. Today on her anniversary, we renew our demand that those responsible for her murder be brought to justice.
Asked if she ever felt her life was in danger, she said: “Sometimes I just can’t even feel that, because I have such strong other feelings. I try to be very exact about how I go about things and I do have worries about my family and people close to me but I still have to do my work.