By BosNewsLife News Center
BRUSSELS/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Thursday, July 16, “strongly condemned” the murder of Natalya Estemirova, a prominent journalist and human rights activist who was found dead in Ingushetia, following her kidnapping the previous day at her home in Grozny, the Chechen capital.
“We condemn this appalling murder of Estemirova who showed remarkable courage in exposing the atrocities committed in Chechnya,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha in a statement to BosNewsLife. “The authorities in Russian and Chechnya must leave no stone unturned in the hunt for her killers.”
According to the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), an IFJ affiliate, Natalya who worked for the Memorial human rights society and wrote for Novaya gazeta, was abducted at her home in Grozny on July 15. Her body was later found in neighbouring Ingushetia, with gunshot wounds.
The RUJ said the journalist had been investigating atrocities committed in Chechnya and other areas of the North Caucasus ,convinced that “the determination and courage of those who were not prepared to put up with this lawlessness would win in the end”.
The IFJ said the public condemnations of Natalya’s murder in Russia and Chechnya must translate into “an uncompromising search for her killers” so that they face justice.
“We have heard these well-meaning declarations after previous murders of journalists in Russia,” added Boumelha. “But, the time for words has passed and only swift delivery of justice for Natalya will rend any credence to the authorities’ words.”
The IFJ launched in June a report “Partial Justice” highlighting the Russian authorities’
alleged failure to prosecute the killings of journalists, many of whom died reporting on the conflict in Chechnya.
In a statement, the RUJ said that “we forwarded the text of that report and official letters to the Russian president [ Dmitry Medvedev] those in charge of the key ministries and government departments, expressing the hope that together we could overcome this disgraceful stain on our present existence. The murder of Natalya Estemirova leaves us feeling angry and helpless”. (BosNewsLife NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key news developments, especially in (former) Communist nations and other autocratic countries impacting the Church and/or compassionate professionals).