Abducted rights activist, husband found dead in Chechnya

12th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

The killing comes just weeks after one of Memorial's own activists, Natalya Estemirova, was abducted and murdered in July, sparking an international outcry.

Moscow -- The female head of a Russian NGO and her husband were found dead in Chechnya Tuesday after their abduction a day earlier, in the latest killing of a campaigner, activists and officials said.

"This morning their bodies were found in the settlement of Chernorechye in Grozny," the Chechen capital, board member of the Memorial rights group Alexander Cherkasov told AFP.

Unidentified armed men abducted the head of Let's Save the Generation, Zarema Sadulayeva, and her husband from the offices of the young people's NGO on Monday afternoon, Cherkasov said.

The Interfax news agency quoted interior ministry sources in the region as confirming the killing.

"The rights activists were found in the boot of a car with gunshot wounds," it quoted an official source as saying.

The killing comes just weeks after one of Memorial's own activists, Natalya Estemirova, was abducted and murdered in July, sparking an international outcry.

Let's Save the Generation works with young people in Chechnya who have been marginalised, helping them get back on their feet to prevent them joining any of the armed groups in the unstable region.

The body of Memorial's award-winning activist Estemirova was found shortly after she was seen being bundled into a car outside her home in the Chechen capital Grozny on July 15.

In the wake of her killing, Memorial chairman Oleg Orlov accused Chechnya's pro-Kremlin leader Ramzan Kadyrov of being responsible for the murder, irrespective of who ordered the crime.

Kadyrov denied the allegation on Monday, saying in an interview with Radio Svoboda, the Russian service of Radio Free Europe: "Why should Kadyrov kill a woman who was useful to no one?

"She was without honour, merit or conscience," he added.

Kadyrov is praised by the Kremlin for restoring some stability to the Caucasus region but is detested by human rights activists who accuse him of letting his personal militia carry out kidnappings and torture.

After her death, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev praised Estemirova for speaking "the truth".

Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in the North Caucasus mountains, was the site of two full-scale wars between separatist forces and Russia's central government after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

AFP/Expatica

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