Noted Russian Investigative Journalist, Rights Lawyer Attacked In Grozny

A well-known Russian investigative journalist, Yelena Milashina, and human rights lawyer Marina Dubrovina have been attacked in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region of Chechnya.

The Moscow-based newspaper Novaya gazeta says its reporter and the lawyer were in the Chechen capital, Grozny, to attend the trial of a well-known blogger, when they were attacked by a group of unknown assailants late in the evening on February 6.

Milashina posted on Facebook a copy of her complaint to police over the incident.

The group of attackers, which included women, assaulted Milashina and Dubrovina at a hotel entrance and continued to punch and kick them as they moved inside the hotel lobby.

The incident was filmed by unknown individuals, the newspaper added.

The two women arrived in Grozny to attend the trial of a local blogger Islam Nukhanov, who filmed and posted on the Internet an exclusive neighborhood in Grozny where relatives and families linked to Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, allegedly reside.

Nukhanov was charged with illegal weapons possession.

Milashina is widely known for her investigative reports about the dire human rights situation in Chechnya. Kadyrov has publicly rejected Milashina’s reports.

Activists say Kadyrov, who has ruled the volatile region since 2007, uses repressive measures and has created a climate of impunity for security forces in the region. They claim Kadyrov is ultimately responsible for the violence and intimidation of political opponents by Chechen authorities, including kidnappings, forced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings.

Kremlin critics say Putin has turned a blind eye to the alleged abuses and violations of the Russian Constitution by Kadyrov because he relies on the former rebel commander to control separatist sentiment and violence in Chechnya, the site of two devastating post-Soviet wars and an Islamist insurgency that spread to other mostly Muslim regions in the North Caucasus.

With reporting by Novaya gazeta
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