We Could All Use a Second Look

25 08 2009
From: CTV, 2009

From: CTV, 2009

“I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way. “

– From the film Dead Poets Society

Two Activists Murdered in Chechnya

13 08 2009
Prayers Over Zarema's Body from: Dayton Daily News, 2009

Prayers Over Zarema's Body from: Dayton Daily News, 2009

The bodies of Zarema Sadulayeva and Alik Lechayevich Dzhabrailov were found in the trunk of their own car early today in Chechnya. It appears that human rights activists are in more danger than usual this summer in Chechnya – this following last months murder of Natalya Estemirova. One day ago, the two activists were abducted from their office in Chechnya. Zarema Sadulayeva was the head of Let’s Save the Generation, an organization that tasked itself with aiding children that had been affected by violence in Chechnya.

Witnesses reported men entering the offices claiming to be a part of security services. The men demanded that the head of the organization and her husband go with them. Minutes later, the men returned to claim Ailk’s telephone and his car, the same car in which their bodies were found this morning.

These two put the number of human rights defenders murdered up to six within the past twelve months in Chechnya.

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See RickB’s post for more details: http://tenpercent.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/murdered-left-in-the-boot-of-their-own-car/

Russian Activist, Natalia Estemirova, Found Murdered

15 07 2009
From: Yahoo News, 2009

From: Yahoo News, 2009

A prominent Russian human rights activist was found dead today in Ingushetia, a Russian Federation which shares borders with Georgia and Chechnya. Estemirova was forcefully kidnapped when leaving her home in Chechnya.  She was thrown into a white car (VAZ-2107) while yelling that she was being kidnapped this morning (about 8:30 local time, Wednesday July 15th, 2009). She was found about 9 hours later in a woodland near the city of Nazran with bullet wounds to the head and chest.

Natalia, 50 years old, worked for the Human Rights ativism group, Memorial. She is not the first of her kind to be murdered. Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in 2006 and Stanislav Markelov was murdered in January 2009.

Amnesty International has this to say about her work:

Natalia Estemirova’s work was crucial in documenting human rights violations in the region, such as torture and other ill-treatment, unlawful killings and enforced disappearances, since the start of the second Chechnya war in 2000. She also devoted herself to providing assistance to displaced people and other socially disadvantaged groups. No one has claimed responsibility, but colleagues believe she was killed for her human rights activities.

Her work has been recognized both at home and internationally by numerous awards, including the Robert Schuman medal of the European Parliament (2005), the Right Livelihood Award of the Swedish Parliament (2004 – the so-called Alternative Nobel Peace Prize), and she was the first recipient of the Anna Politkovskaya Award (2007).

Most recently Natalia was investingating a number of house-burnings thought to have been the actions of government-backed militias. Corruption and human rights issues in and around Chechnya are rampant.

Article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8152351.stm

Amnesty International Article: http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGNAU2009071611434&lang=e&rss=recentnews