Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009

Natalya Estemirova

Like the murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya before her, Natalya Estemirova — who was killed in July by four bullets fired at point-blank range — documented the gross violations of human dignity in Chechnya. Repelled by both Chechen and Russian nationalism, she worked in a shell-scarred building in Grozny that had no electricity or running water. She filed stories of rockets slamming into hospitals, of kids being killed as they stood with their mothers collecting water from outdoor pumps. She documented those Chechens who crossed swords with power and were kidnapped, tortured and killed. She tried to force the media to report these crimes, and prosecutors to investigate them. I did not know her personally, but I know what drove her. She was a woman who struggled for justice, a mother who was forced to balance love for her daughter with the dangerous duty she shouldered.

—Christiane Amanpour

Amanpour is CNN's chief international correspondent and the host of Amanpour