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World Briefing / Russia

Chechnya rights office closing

July 19, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

The Russian human rights group Memorial is stopping work at its office in the republic of Chechnya following the kidnapping and killing of one of its most daring activists, a Russian radio station reported.

Natalia Estemirova, who had investigated executions, kidnappings and other abuses, was forced into a car outside her residence in the Chechen capital on Wednesday, witnesses say. She was found shot in the head and chest hours later.

Echo of Moscow radio quoted Memorial executive committee member Alexander Cherkasov as saying its office in Chechnya was being closed because of concern for the safety of other workers. Cherkasov did not say how long the Chechen office would be closed.

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