Further to the alert issued on 16 July on the murder of Natalia Estemirova, English PEN would like to bring to your attention a petition calling for justice issued by Reach All Women in War (RAW) – the organisation that had awarded her the inaugural Anna Politkovskaya award
(To see the original bulletin, published 16 July, please click here.)
Over 140 human rights defenders, activists, artists, actors and others have signed the peitition. To see the petition, please click here. RAW is still collecting comments and messages of support on its website. (Note that RAW refers to Estemirova as Natasha – both forenames are used.)
Reach All Women in War Statement
We want justice for Natasha
We are shocked and outraged by the killing of Natasha Estemirova in Chechnya today. Natasha was a dear friend of all of us at RAW in WAR. In 2007 we presented the first annual Anna Politkovskaya Award to Natasha for her courage in seeking and telling the truth about the torture, disappearances and murders of civilians in the war in Chechnya.
Natasha was a gentle, loving woman and a brave truth-teller, who was not afraid to speak out about the torture, rape and disappearances in Chechnya. She paid for it with her life. Like Anna did. Because there is nothing more dangerous than telling the truth in today’s Russia. And Natasha was a truth-seeker with every fibre of her being. She just couldn’t remain silent; she couldn’t play it safe. She was a fierce spirit, a whistle-blower, a caring and loyal friend, a deeply loving woman, who stood up for humanity
Like Anna, she was killed, because of her describing and reporting of the truth about the ‘dirty war’ in Chechnya. She was a condemned woman – giving voice to condemned people: the people of Chechnya.
Natasha was a unique woman whose courage earned her death threats and abuse from the authorities at home. It also earned her the love and admiration of human rights supporters at home and around the world. She lived a life of courage and truthtelling in the face of grave danger, as Anna did.
We call on the Russian Government to bring to justice, both those who killed Natasha Estemirova and those who ordered her murder. We call on the Russian Government to bring to justice the killers of Anna Politkovskaya, for whose murder, three years on, justice has not been done.
We also call on the world’s leaders, in honouring Natasha Estemirova in the coming days, to demand justice for Natasha and to pledge to do everything in their power to protect the journalists and human rights defenders who work in areas of war and conflict, and who speak out on behalf of the victims, as Natasha and Anna did.
On 6 October 2008, on the eve of the anniversary of Anna’s murder, Natasha presented the Anna Politkovskaya Award to the brave young parliamentarian from Afghanistan, Malalai Joya, with the words: “Malalai be brave”.
We owe it to the memory of Natasha and Anna to protect the very few who still speak out, on behalf of those to whom nobody wants to listen.
RAW in WAR
Please write your own comments and messages in support of the call for justice for Natasha on RAW in WAR website by clicking here.
What you can do:
– Protest to the Russian President
– Write to the Russian embassy in your own country
Government Appeals should:
– Express shock at the murder of Natalia Estemirova clearly in retaliation for her investigations into human rights abuses in Chechnya;
– Welcome President Medvedev’s promise that there will be an immediate investigation into her murder, and urging that this be carried out fully and impartially, and that those responsible be brought to justice;
– Raise concern that almost three years after her murder, no-one has yet to be convicted of the murder of Estemirova’s colleague, Anna Politkovskaya, leading to concerns that there is little real commitment to resolving such crimes and thus allowing those who carry them out impunity;
– Call on the Russian authorities to counter these concerns by unequivocally condemning all attacks on the independent press and human rights monitors, to review the unresolved murders of 17 journalists killed in the past decade.
Please note that the fax numbers for the Russian authorities have been amended. Some RAN participants have experienced difficulties getting messages to these numbers even updated. If you are also struggling, you may prefer to address your appeals to the Russian embassy in your own country.
Mr Dmitry Medvedev
President of the Russian Federation
Fax: 7 495 206 5173 / 206 6277
Mr Chaika Yuri Yakovlevich
Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Ishaya Dmitrovka 1 a GSP e
Moscow 12599 3
Fax 7 495 292 88 48
His Excellencey Yury Viktorovich Fedotov
6/7 Kensington Palace Gardens
W 8 4QP
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/russiacallsforjusticeformurderedhumanrightsdefendernataliaestemirova/