Russia to probe all angles in Estemirova murder

The Russian Investigation Committee said on Thursday it would investigate every lead in the killing of Russian human rights activist Natalya Estemirova, including those proposed by her colleagues.

The Memorial rights group said last Friday that investigators may be under political pressure to ignore the real reason for her death. They published the results of their own investigation and said they would demand they be included into the case.

“[Investigation Commission head] Alexander Bastrykin has ordered that all possible versions of Estemirova’s murder be checked, including those provided by Memorial,” committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said.

He added that Bastrykin had also demanded that the investigation be given new impetus.

Estemirova was abducted from outside her home in the Chechen capital of Grozny on July 15, 2009, and her body was found later the same day in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia.

The Investigation Committee has extended the probe into Estemirova’s death until November 15.

It also said, however, that it stood by its contention the activist was killed by Chechen militant Alkhazur Bashayev in revenge for her articles about his activities. Memorial said in its report that based on independent DNA tests Bashayev was not guilty.

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