Tatiana Lokshina (on the left) and Natalia Estemirova. Chechnya, Grozny, April 2006. Photo by http://grend.livejournal.com

08 July 2010, 20:00

Rights defendants state absence of answers to key questions on Estemirova's murder

Today, the Independent Press Centre has hosted a press conference: "Investigation of Natalia Estemirova's murder: questions to investigation."

Let us remind you that July 15 is one year after the day of kidnapping and murder of Natalia Estemirova.

According to Alexander Cherkasov, Chairman of the Board of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", "in recent months the investigation has chosen the only version: Natalia Estemirova was killed by militants from personal enmity and with the aim to compromise the leadership of the Chechen Republic."

According to Mr Cherkasov, the militant Alkhazur Bashaev was appointed to the role of the gunman, "who is already dead, naturally." Now, in his opinion, the case will be considered solved; and it will not brought to the court, where the supposed killer could have objected. Besides, all suspicions about involvement of state officials in the crime will be refuted.

"Other versions, first of all, those connected with the cases ran by Natasha, dealing with kidnappings, arbitrary executions, burning down houses by law enforcers of Chechnya, remain un-investigated," said Cherkasov.

In her turn, Svetlana Gannushkina, a member of the Board of the HRC "Memorial", chair of the "Civil Assistance" Committee and a member of the Board at the President of the Russian Federation for promoting civil society institutes and human rights, marked that during the first months inspectors interrogated employees of the "Memorial".

"The interrogations concerned Estemirova's work and the cases that she dealt with (kidnappings, a public execution) during her last days. Identikits of two female witnesses of her kidnapping were compiled, but none of them have been ever found and interrogated," said Ms Gannushkina.

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