In a deeply disturbing incident that recently unfolded Brutal Attack on a Prominent Russian Journalist in Chechnya, Elena Milashina, a renowned Russian journalist of great integrity, fell victim to a brutal assault. Known for her courageous exposés, Milashina fearlessly shed light on the harrowing persecution and systematic oppression faced by gay men in the region. The sinister attack, which also targeted a lawyer, was reported by the reputable news outlet Novaya Gazeta, employer of Milashina. Such acts of aggression against individuals committed to truth-seeking and justice are deeply alarming and serve as a grave reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by journalists in their pursuit of shedding light on abuses of power.
Milashina and attorney Alexander Nemov embarked on a journey to the court sentencing of a courageous human rights activist in Grozny, the regional capital of Chechnya. However, their anticipated arrival was abruptly disrupted when their car encountered a roadblock. As shock and fear coursed through their veins, armed assailants launched a merciless assault on the duo. The investigative journalist’s fingers were brutally broken, while the lawyer suffered a stabbing, leaving both physically scarred and emotionally battered. In addition to this brutal attack, the assailants callously shattered the pair’s valuable equipment. These harrowing details emerged from a report published by the esteemed Novaya Gazeta.
“Several masked people severely beat Elena and Alexander, took their phones, demanding they unblocked them, destroyed their equipment and documents,” Novaya Gazeta said in a statement. “They beat them with batons and kicked them with their feet.”Elena Milashina has a closed head wound and several broken fingers on her hands,” the newspaper’s statement said, adding that Milashina “passed out several times.”
The Kremlin has labeled the recent occurrence as a profoundly alarming assault that demands immediate investigation and decisive action. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been duly informed and authorized the involvement of Russia’s esteemed Human Rights Ombudsman to oversee the matter.
In a statement to Russian state media RIA Novosti, Moskalkova confirmed the brutal attack on a prominent Russian journalist in Chechnya by unknown people and that Milashina’s fingers were broken. Moskalkova also said she asked the Commissioner for Human Rights in Chechnya to ensure the safety of the journalist.
Sergey Babinets, the head of the Russian human rights organization the Crew Against Torture, said that the attackers had mentioned Milashina’s work and previous court reporting while beating the pair. “This is clearly not a gangster attack, this is a direct attack for their work,” he said in a statement “Amnesty International condemns this cowardly assault in the strongest terms and calls on the Russian authorities to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of those who seek truth and justice,” Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia director, Marie Struthers, said.
Milashina has been previously threatened for her journalism. Following her reporting on a crackdown on gay men in Chechnya in 2017,Muslim clerics in Chechnya called for “retribution” against her and other journalists. She faced death threats and was temporarily forced to flee the country.
At the time, one witness who fled Chechnya after being arrested told CNN that hundreds of gay men like him were being rounded up by the authorities and held in appalling conditions in at least three detention centers. The detentions prompted heavy international criticism of Russia. The country has a checkered record on gay rights, breaking up gay pride marches and passing anti-gay propaganda laws.
The revelations of brutal attack on a prominent Russian journalist in Chechnya acts of torture surfacing from Chechnya resonated with an intensity never witnessed before. In a brash rebuttal, the influential Chechen leader, supported by the Kremlin, boldly dismissed the existence of any LGBTQ+ individuals in his republic. He even went further, asserting that if any such individuals were to be found, they should be forcibly removed from the region. These shocking statements sparked widespread consternation and provoked a crucial conversation about human rights and the treatment of marginalized communities.