| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

Prominent female Russian journalist and lawyer brutally attacked in Chechnya

According to the journalist, her employer, and rights groups, armed masked men assaulted and critically wounded a notable female Russian journalist and a lawyer in the Russian province of Chechnya on Tuesday morning after forcing their car to stop.

Yelena Milashina, a well-known journalist for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, and Alexander Nemov, a lawyer, were traveling to the Chechen capital Grozny from the local airport when they were assaulted.

Milashina and Nemov, who had planned to attend a court hearing in the case of a woman they believed was being unjustly persecuted for political reasons, are being transferred to a hospital in a neighbouring region, rights groups said.

“It was a classic kidnapping… They pinned (our driver) down, threw him out of his car, got in, bent our heads down, tied my hands, knelt me down there, and put a gun to my head,” Milashina told Mansur Soltayev, a Chechen human rights official, as she lay in hospital in Grozny before being transferred.

Memorial, a rights group outlawed in Russia, said that Milashina and Nemov had been “brutally kicked, including in the face, threatened with death, had a gun held to their heads, and had their equipment taken away and smashed.”

“While being beaten, they were told: ‘You have been warned. Get out of here and don’t write anything,'” Memorial said in a statement on Telegram.

A photograph of Milashina, whose newspaper was stripped of its licence in Russia last year, showed her sitting on a hospital bed with her face covered in green dye, her head shaved, and bandages on her left arm and right hand amid reports that several of her fingers had been broken.

There was no immediate comment on the incident from the authorities in Chechnya, a mainly Muslim southern region ruled by Ramzan Kadyrov, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, who rose to power after two bloody wars that followed the 1991 Soviet breakup.

  • Reuters