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Russia failed to “properly investigate” the 2009 murder of activist Natalia Estemirova, a European court ruled.

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday condemned Moscow for failing to conduct a thorough investigation, twelve years after his death.

Russia has now been ordered to pay € 20,000 to Natalia Estemirova’s sister for “moral damage”.

But the court rejected evidence presented by Estemirova’s family that the Russian state was involved in the murder.

Estemirova was kidnapped and found with a bullet to the head and chest on July 15, 2009. No one has been tried for her murder.

The prominent human rights activist had worked with the Russian NGO Memorial and had written articles on alleged crimes committed by law enforcement officials in Chechnya.

According to Russian authorities, the main suspect in his murder is Chechen activist Alkhazur Bashaev, who has never been arrested.

After appeals from Estemirova’s family, the Strasbourg court examined the case and condemned Russia for “failing to conduct a proper investigation”.

The court noted that the Russian authorities had “opened the investigation promptly and carried out the investigative acts in the days following the crime”, including indicting a suspect.

But European judges said “some contradictions in expert testimony have not been resolved”.

“Investigators have not explained why no trace of the DNA of the person accused of the murder (or) of persons belonging to his illegal armed group has been found,” added the judges.

The court also said that the Russian government “failed to provide most of the documents in the case” and therefore breached its obligation to the victim’s family.

In a statement issued by the European Center for the Defense of Human Rights, Lana Estemirova, the victim’s daughter, said she was “satisfied that the court concluded that there had been no proper investigation “.

But she also called the judgment “extremely disappointing,” a sentiment shared by the human rights organization Memorial.


euronews Gt

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