Igor Kalyapin, the head of the Inter-Regional "Committee Against Torture", at a press conference on the unresolved murders of human rights defenders; Moscow, July 13, 2012. Photo by Tatiana Gantimurova for the "Caucasian Knot"

13 July 2012, 17:00

Igor Kalyapin: for last two years, not a single disappearance case has reached court in Dagestan and Chechnya

According to official statistics, presented to the UN by the Russian Federation, from 2007 to 2009, the Investigatory Committee of Chechen Republic received 427 complaints about disappearances of people and instituted criminal cases on 142 of them; however, none of them was brought to court. This was reported today by Igor Kalyapin, the head of the Interregional "Committee Against Torture", at the press conference, dedicated to unsolved murders of human rights defenders.

"Unfortunately, we do not have the data of official statistics for the recent years. However, taking into account the intensity of appealed, received by us, I would not say that the number of such cases decreased," emphasized Igor Kalyapin during the press conference "Three years after Natalia Estemirova's death: how authorities fail to investigate murders of social activists and journalists in Northern Caucasus and how they prosecuted persons who try to conduct independent investigation."

Apart from Igor Kalyapin, the discussion was attended by Biyakai Magomedov, the editor-in-chief of the Dagestani newspaper "Chernovik" (Draft), Tatiana Lokshina, Deputy Director of the Moscow Office of the "Human Rights Watch", and Alexander Cherkasov, Chairman of the Board of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial".

The organizers of the press conference remind that after Natalia Estemirova, the following persons were killed: activists Zarema Sadulaeva and Alik Djabrailov and Zarema Gaisanova, a staff member of the "Danish Refugee Council", in Chechnya; Maksharip Aushev, human rights defender and oppositionist, in Ingushetia; Khadjimurad Kamalov, the founder of the newspaper "Chernovik" (Draft) in Dagestan.

"They all have the common feature none of those cases was solved. Meanwhile, the authorities put pressure to human rights defenders and journalists, who demand effective investigation, and the working conditions of activists and independent media in the region are becoming more tough," state the materials of the HRC "Memorial", presented to the participants of the press conference.

Let us remind you that the General Prosecutor's Office considers the case on the murder of Natalia Estemirova to be solved. According to investigators, Natalia Estemirova was murdered by the Bashaev brothers, residents of Chechnya, who wanted to take personal revenge for the fact that the journalist allegedly disclosed their relationship with militants.

On July 14, 2011, at the press conference in Moscow, the "International Federation for Human Rights" (FIDH), the "Novaya Gazeta" and the HRC "Memorial" presented the report, containing the results of the independent investigation, which they stated that the investigators followed a false trace and insisted that the results of their investigation would be attached to the case on the murder of Natalia Estemirova. The human rights defenders believe that "the 'evidence base', contained in the materials of the criminal case, afford ground to suspect an intentional design of evidence to make the version of the involvement of Bashaev the major one."

Author: Tatiana Gantimurova; Source: CK correspondent

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