Natalia Estemirova, Russian rights activist, found murdered

A prominent Russian human rights activist, Natalia Estemirova, has been found dead in the North Caucasus. She was bundled into a van and abducted as she left her home in Chechnya. Her body was found in Ingushetia.

The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed "outrage" at the murder, and ordered a top-level investigation. Ms Estemirova had been investigating human rights abuses in Chechnya for the independent Memorial group. Memorial is one of Russia's best known rights groups, working to document Soviet-era abuses and those taking place more recently, especially in Chechnya.

In recent months, she had been gathering evidence of a campaign of house-burnings by government-backed militias.