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Seven leading UN human rights experts released a formal statement on July 21 affirming their readiness to assist the Russian authorities in carrying out an independent investigation into the murders of lawyers, journalists, and human rights activists in Russia, including the recent killing of Natalya Estemirova.

The experts acknowledged that Russia's leaders have pledged to apprehend her killers and bring them to trial, but say those pledges "will be worth little unless the authorities take steps that go beyond what has been done in the past."

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov's press secretary Alvi Karimov told RFE/RL that Russia's federal Investigative Committee is working actively on the case. He said he is sure should it need any outside help, it will seek it through the usual channels.

Read the UN experts' press release here.

"The Guardian" today published a comment, "We want justice for Natasha," signed by a number of notables, including Desmond Tutu and Susan Sarandon.

"Natasha (as she was known among friends and colleagues) was a gentle, loving woman and a brave truth-teller who was not afraid to speak out about torture, rape and disappearances in Chechnya. She paid for it with her life."

Read the full piece here.

Last week RFE/RL's Claire Bigg wrote about the string of silenced voices on Chechnya.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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