Chechnya: 'Open season' for killing rights activists?
Natalia Estemirova, who has long documented abuses by government-backed militias, is the fourth prominent critic of Kremlin policies to be killed in three years.
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The killing has drawn attention to a worrying trend in which critics of Kremlin-installed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov have been harassed or murdered. Human rights groups have blamed Mr. Kadyrov and his followers for abusing innocent civilians in their counterinsurgency campaign against Islamic militants. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed "outrage" and called for an inquiry, reports the BBC.
Ms. Estemirova was abducted Wednesday as she left her home in Grozny, Chechyna's capital, the BBC report adds. Her body was later found with gunshot wounds in neighboring Ingushetia. (Click here for a map of the region.)
Ms Estemirova ... had been gathering evidence - for the Russian human rights organization, Memorial - of a campaign of house-burnings by government-backed militiamen.
She was known to be a fierce political opponent of Chechnya's government.
Memorial's chairman Oleg Orlov pointed the blame at ... Kadyrov, a former rebel turned Kremlin loyalist.
"I know, I am sure of it, who is guilty for the murder of Natalia.... Ramzan already threatened Natalia, insulted her, considered her a personal enemy."