17 July 2009, 21:10

In Chechnya, during Estemirova's farewell ceremony unknown persons tried to stop the procession

In the course of the farewell ceremony with the well-known human rights defender Natalia Estemirova, killed on July 15, two men in civil clothes, one of them with firearms on him, tried to stop the column that moved along the Putin Avenue in Grozny ahead of the catafalque with Estemirova's body.

"We planned to bring Natalia Estemirova's body along the Putin Avenue from the Peoples' Friendship Square, where the office of Grozny "Memorial" is located, to the central mosque of Grozny," one of the participants of the action told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent in her telephone conversation. "In this way we wanted to pay out tribute and memory to her."

"We had just walked for some three hundred meters, when a car stopped nearby, and two men got out of it, one had a pistol in his belt. They were dressed as civilians. In loud and irritated voice, one of them demanded explanations why the funeral was organized like that and who gave permit to hold the action," said the participant and added that the incident lasted for no more than five minutes.

She continued: "We walked for some sections more, then, we sent off the car with Natasha's body, and started dispersing. Those two men who tried to stop our column again appeared nearby. They made calls, then, some official arrived, and they began talking. But by that time the cars already left, and the participants in the action (somewhat about a hundred persons) dispersed. We didn't reach the mosque, but all the same, we saw Natasha off as we liked."

Those who took party in the farewell ceremony with Natalia Estemirova also noted that no representatives of local authorities ever appeared. Even the Ombudsman in the Chechen Republic Nurdi Nukhazhiev was absent, although Estemirova was a member of the Expert Board of the Russian Ombudsman for the Chechen Republic and an observer of the commission for public control over observance of human rights in detention facilities and assistance to detainees and inmates.

Author: Alexander Ivanov; Source: CK correspondent

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