Heather Nauert Department Spokesperson said that we mark with sadness the eighth anniversary of the murder of human rights defender and journalist Natalya Estemirova and the thirteenth anniversary of the murder of American journalist and editor Paul Klebnikov, both killed in Russia. Ms. Estemirova, renowned for her writing and activism on human rights abuses in the North Caucasus, was kidnapped in Chechnya and found dead in the Ingushetia region of Russia on July 15, 2009. Mr. Klebnikov’s brave work to expose official corruption and graft ended when he was murdered on July 9, 2004.Neither the killers nor those who may have ordered the crimes have been brought to justice in either case.
The United States once again calls for an end to the long-standing climate of impunity for extrajudicial killings – including the murder of journalists – in the North Caucasus and elsewhere in Russia. We commend the efforts of brave journalists and human rights defenders who expose corruption and human rights abuses, and we urge the Russian Government to protect all of its citizens in accordance with international law.