One year on, Merkel urges Russia to solve activist's murder

15th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday called on Russia to solve the murder of rights activist Natalya Estemirova, one year to the day after she was killed in the Caucasus.

The killers of Estemirova, a leading activist for the prize-winning Russian rights group Memorial, have still not been brought to justice despite heavy international pressure on Russia over the case.

Speaking at a meeting of German and Russian business leaders also attended by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Merkel described the issue as of "great importance".

"In this respect it is important to continue the work to find the truth" about the assassination of Estemirova, who was abducted in the Caucasus region of Chechnya before her corpse was found hours later in neighbouring Ingushetia.

Memorial's chief Oleg Orlov was earlier this month accused of libel in a criminal investigation into his allegations last year that the Kremlin-backed leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, was responsible for Estemirova's murder.

The controversial Kadyrov angrily dismissed the allegations and in turn has described Memorial as "enemies of the people".

© 2010 AFP

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