Independent Report: Investigation of the Murder of Estemirova on the Wrong Track
On July 14, in the Independent Press Center a press conference “The First Results of Independent Investigation into the Murder of Natalya Estemirova” took place in Moscow.
Oleg Orlov, chairman of the board of the “Memorial”; Alexander Cherkasov, member of the board of the “Memorial”; Svetlana Gannushkina, member of the board of the “Memorial”; and Roman Karpinsky, lawyer of Natalya Estemirova’s family participated to the press-conference at 12:00pm local time. The report “Two Years After the Murder of Natalya Estemirova: Investigation on the Wrong Track” was presented at the press conference. Svetlana Gannushkina had presented this report to the President Dmitri Medvedyev on July 5, 2011 during a field meeting of the Presidential Council on the Development of Civil Institutions and Human Rights.
A brief summary of the report:
Natalya Estemirova was abducted and killed on July 15, 2009. Since July 16, investigations have been conducted by a senior investigator for the Department of Investigation of Especially Important Cases of the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee, Sobol.
The investigation of case number 09500038 is developing four different versions of the murder (quote): “1. Connected to her professional activities; 2. Used to discredit [pro-Russian] power authorities in Chechnya; 3. Related to personal hostilities against her; 4. Killed by [pro-Russian] armed forces in Chechnya in connection with her publicity of human rights violations against its citizens.”
From the outset, this investigation has possessed important evidence: based on a study of content samples found under the victim’s nails and biological residue on her clothing, DNA residue from the abductors and murderers were identified – at least three people were involved, including an unidentified woman.
Nearly six months later, in January 2010, the investigation received “evidence” which served as the main factor in the current version of the murder: abduction and murder committed by the militant Alkhazur Bashaev “and other unidentified persons.”
We analyzed the case materials available to use and conducted our own independent investigation. As a result, we can say that:
1. The investigation has not serious evidence of Alkhazur Bashaev’s participation in the abduction and murder of Natalya Estemirova.
2. In fact, based on case materials, the “base of evidence” raises suspicions of a deliberate manipulation of evidence to make the “Bashayev version” the main version. Thus, a cache with a gun that killed Estemirova and phony police photo identification with Bashayev’s picture was “found” – but from the text of expertise insist that Bashaev could not have fabricated this documentation; in addition, the investigation has not taken an interest in the powerful guided missiles found in the cache. They also found a car, VAZ-2107 – the same brand as the car which Estemirova was taken in – and its plates, which state that the car belonged to Bashaev, and a silencer to the gun. Only here there is no trace of the abduction, which couldn’t help being left; according to another expert, Natalya was shot not using a silencer. The list of impossible to ignore “oddities” does not end there.
3. The investigation did not use all of its possibilities for DNA analysis of possible suspects. Because of this some sources were completely exhausted and further study of them is impossible. The “Bashaev Version” has not been proven by the investigation, but now cannot be fully refuted by comparing it to the DNA analysis of Bashaev’s relatives.
4. The investigation has done nothing to conduct a comparative DNA analysis to prove the version participation by any other persons in the crime, including employees of state power structures.
We consider an effective investigation into the murder of Natalya Estemirova possible only with the active participation of the aggrieved party. This participation is sanctioned not only by the Russian Criminal Code, but also by the norms of international law.
The full text of the report in Russian can be found HERE.