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World News | Masked assailants attack a journalist and a lawyer in Russia’s Chechnya province

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Xinhua) — Masked assailants in Russia’s Chechnya province attacked and beat a journalist and a lawyer on Tuesday, an attack that highlighted a pattern of violence where human rights violations are rampant in the region.

Novaya Gazette reporter Elena Milashina and lawyer Alexander Nemov have just arrived in Chechnya to attend the trial of Zarema Musayeva, the mother of two local activists challenging the Chechen authorities .

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Just outside the airport, their vehicle was stopped by several cars and they were beaten by several unidentified masked assailants who held guns to their heads and damaged their equipment.

According to Novaya Gazette, Milashina suffered a brain injury and fractured several fingers, while Nemov also suffered deep wounds on his legs. They were taken to a hospital in Grozny, Chechnya’s main city, and later to Beslan in the nearby North Ossetia region. Milashina lost consciousness several times, the newspaper said.

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Officials are considering sending them to Moscow for medical evacuation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the incident, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. “This is a very serious attack that requires strong measures from law enforcement agencies,” Peskov added.

Russian human rights monitor Tatyana Moskova has asked investigators to look into the attacks on Milashina and Nemov.

Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development and Mass Communication condemned the “terrible attack” on Milashina and Nemov and said it would provide them with the necessary assistance. The ministry added that it urged law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate the attack and punish the perpetrators.

The tough statement from Russian authorities stands in stark contrast to the muted official response to previous attacks against Mirakhina and other journalists and human rights activists who have exposed human rights abuses in Chechnya.

Milashina has long spoken out about human rights abuses in Chechnya and has faced threats, intimidation and attacks. In 2020, Milashina and a lawyer who accompanied her were beaten by more than a dozen people in the hotel lobby.

Hours after the attacks on Milashina and Nemov on Tuesday, a Grozny court sentenced Zarema Musayeva to 5.5 years in prison for insulting and violently resisting police, a charge dismissed by rights groups as is fabricated.

Musayeva has been detained in Chechnya since her arrest in January 2022. Her husband, a former judge, and her two activist sons have left Chechnya. Chechen regional strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov has accused the Musayev family of terrorist links and said they should be imprisoned or killed.

The Kremlin is counting on Kadyrov to keep the North Caucasus stable after two devastating separatist wars. International human rights groups have accused Kadyrov’s feared security forces of extrajudicial executions, torture and abduction of dissidents. His influence has grown and his security forces have been actively involved in Moscow’s operations in Ukraine since they began.

International human rights groups have repeatedly called for an end to the abuses in Chechnya, but have been blocked by Russian authorities.

Despite the Kremlin’s backing, Kadyrov reportedly has tense relations with some of Russia’s law enforcement agencies. The angry reaction from officials and Kremlin-linked lawmakers may indicate that the authorities intend to reduce the size of the Chechen strongman.

The chairman of the upper house constitutional affairs committee, André Krishas, ​​said law enforcement agencies should respond “toughly” to the attacks on Mirakhina and Nemov, while another senior lawmaker, Alexander Sinstein, condemned It was “criminal conduct” and prosecutors were urged to prioritize the case. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a syndicated news feed, the latest staff may not have modified or edited the body of content)


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