15 July 2009, 21:00

Natalia Estemirova: "I'm sure that human rights defenders are murdered on authorities' blessing"

In her last video interview to the "Caucasian Knot", Natalia Estemirova, an employee of the HRC "Memorial", who was shot dead on Wednesday, July 15, expressed her "complete confidence" that the murders of her friends - journalist Anna Politkovskaya and advocate Stanislav Markelov - were committed "upon blessing of those in power." She gave the interview on January 23, at the Ostankino cemetery, the day Markelov was buried there.

According to Estemirova, despite all the threats that Stanislav Markelov received, neither she nor her colleagues could believe that he would be killed. Natalia had also repeatedly received threats during many years of her human rights work in Chechnya.

"Her life was all the time in danger. She was threatened by special power services, by militants, by federal forces and by special troops," Radio Liberty reported back in 2007.

"We, human rights advocates, are defending human rights and fight against the crime, while the state fights against us," said Natalia Estemirova at Markelov's funeral. "Not only that criminal cases are all the time opened against human rights activists, and Stanislav also had problems, we see no investigation into their murders."

Author: Vyacheslav Feraposhkin; Source: CK correspondent

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