11 September 2009, 19:00

HRW: Chechen President's suit to "Memorial" distracts from investigating Estemirova's murder

The international organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) believes that the suit of President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov against Oleg Orlov, head of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", distracts attention from real investigation of Natalia Estemirova's murder.

The HRW's statement runs that "this claim should not allow Russian authorities to give up their efforts to search and bring to responsibility the customers and executors of Natalia Estemirova's murder."

"Being a person holding a high state post, Kadyrov should not use the law for constraining public debate on the issues of serious public interest," said Holly Cartner, director of HRW's representative office for Europe and Middle Asia.

"In such circumstances the best defence is in holding a really independent investigation, which meets Russia's obligations in sphere of human rights," she has added, having called Ramzan Kadyrov to recall his suit against the "Memorial".

The BBC reports that the HRW's statement says that if the case would be still accepted to proceeding, the court should take into account Russia's obligations in defence of human rights, in particular, the rights to the freedom of speech. Activists of the HRW remind that the criticism threshold of a public politician is much higher that that on a private person.

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