Chechen Activist ‘More Deserving’ of Nobel
The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) has congratulated US President Barack Obama on winning the Nobel Peace Prize, but says Natalya Estemirova, a Chechen rights activist would have been a more deserving choice.
“Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama is a way of encouraging him to not renege on the universal principles that he has championed,” said Souhayr Belhassen, president of the Paris-based FIDH organisation. But she added: “We would have preferred a human rights defender like Oleg Orlov from Memorial in Russia or Natalya Estemirova”, who was gunned down in the Chechen capital Grozny in July.
Mr Orlov, the chairman of Russia’s most prominent human rights group Memorial, was taken to court and ordered to pay a fine for accusing pro-Moscow Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadirov of ordering Ms Estemirova’s murder. One of Memorial’s employees in Chechnya, Ms Estemirova had won worldwide acclaim for uncovering rights abuses and fearlessly criticising Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who prosecuted the two wars when he was president. The 50-year-old was found dead with gunshot wounds to the head and chest, hours after she was seen being bundled into a car outside her home in Grozny.