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Court says Russia failed to examine 2009 death of activist Natalya Estemirova

By
Zarrin Ahmed
Flowers are seen with a photo of journalist and human rights activist Natalya Estemirova in Moscow, Russia, on August 24, 2009, about a month after she was found dead. File Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA
Flowers are seen with a photo of journalist and human rights activist Natalya Estemirova in Moscow, Russia, on August 24, 2009, about a month after she was found dead. File Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday that Russian authorities failed to properly investigate the death of journalist and human rights activist Natalya Estemirova more than a decade ago.

Estemirova was abducted and killed in Chechnya on July 15, 2009. No one has ever been charged in her death.

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The court said Tuesday that it found no evidence of Russian state involvement in Estemirova's death and Moscow can't be held responsible.

The ruling noted, however, that authorities' "cynical inaction" led to an intensified assault on human rights.

The judgement also said there were parallels between Estemirova's death and the assassination of human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya, who reported purported human rights abuses in Chechnya.

Estemirova was a high-profile defender of human rights who investigated disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture during the Chechen conflict between 1999 and 2009. She was often the target of criticism and threats from Chechen authorities.

"The perpetrators of these and other crimes ... have enjoyed complete impunity for their actions," Amnesty International said in a statement after Tuesday's ruling.

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The France-based European Court of Human Rights is a court of last resort for rights cases in Russia and Moscow is bound by its rulings.

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