Natalya Estemirova was a Russian born human rights activist of Russian and Chechen descent who worked diligently until her untimely death, in 2009, to help combat injustices being performed on her own people. Natalya taught history at her former high school until 1998, all the while, working to document the crimes she saw against humanity.
Born on february 28, 1958, Natalya’s partial chechen heritage made her especially vulnerable to the crimes she saw being committed during the second Chechen War. During her extensive career, she filmed thirteen documentaries which captured the injustices of Russian punitive practices. She also traveled to hospitals in order photograph the child victims of of the chechen crisis.
However, in 2009, she was abducted by an unknown person. Reports by witnesses to the abduction claim that two men dragged Natalya into a car while she shouted out that she was being abducted. Close friends of Natalya Estemirova believe that it was no doubt her prolific work as a human rights activist that led to her eventual murder.
On July 15th, 2009 her body was found near the side of a road with bullet wounds in her head and chest. Although her life was unrightfully taken, her legacy will never be forgotten. Aleksander Cherkasov, Natalya’s partner in the programme Hot Spots commented,
“As a teacher she had the ability to talk to people like one would talk to children, still innocent of the evils of the world. She had the rare ability to find a language which was readily understood, and to which both sides were receptive.”
“Natalia Estemirova.” Civil Rights Defenders Natalia Estemirova Comments. Civil Rights Defenders, 03 July 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.
“Natalya Estemirova.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Dec. 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.