Natalia Estemirova, human rights defender and Memorial staff member, kidnapped

Natalia EstemirovaToday, on July 15, 2009, at about 8:30 am in Grozny (Chechnya) a member of HRC Memorial Natalia Estemirova was abducted.




* * *


Not far from her house she was grabbed and taken into a white car, VAZ-2107. She only had time to shout that she was being abducted. Some unidentified woman, who probably tipped off the kidnappers, followed Natalia Estemirova from the entrance to her apartment complex to the place where she was abducted.

The whereabouts of Estemirova are unknown at this point.

Natalia Estemirova scheduled several meetings for today, including a joint mission to Stavropol Krai with the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic. However, she did not come to any of the meetings nor called anybody. Members of the HRC Memorial became worried and went to meet her at her house, where they found and talked to the witnesses of the kidnapping.

Natalia Estemirova is one of the leading members of the Memorial HRC in the North Caucasus. On several occasions, the authorities of the Chechen Republic expressed their dissatisfaction with her work. For her work in the field of human rights, Estemirova received many international awards. She was the first person to receive the Anna Politkovskaya Award (2007), and received the Swedish Government Award "The Right to Live" (2004). In 2005, the European Parliament awarded her the Robert Schumann Medal.


Наталья Эстемирова
Natalia Estemirova