In Chechnya, unidentified people attacked journalist Elena Milashina and lawyer Alexander Nemov. They flew to Grozny to hear the verdict for Zarema Musaeva, the wife of Saydi Yangulbaev, a former judge of the Supreme Court of Chechnya.
On the way from the airport to Grozny, their car was blocked by three cars with armed men, Nemov told the human rights organization “Team Against Torture” (the organization is included by the Ministry of Justice in the list of foreign agents).
Both were severely beaten, they were threatened with weapons. According to the editorial office of Novaya Gazeta, where Milashina works, unknown people took away and destroyed the equipment and documents belonging to the journalist and the lawyer.
Nemov said that the attackers demanded that they leave. “Get out of here, you have been warned. Do not write anything,” he quoted the attackers.
Journalist Ksenia Sobchak reported that Milashina’s fingers were broken when they demanded a code from the phone. She also wrote that the victim was diagnosed with a closed craniocerebral injury and numerous bruises. According to Sobchak,
Milashina constantly loses consciousness, and her head is doused with brilliant green and shaved.
Nemov “moves badly,” wrote Sobchak. The head of the “Team Against Torture” (formerly the Committee Against Torture) Sergei Babinets said that Milashina and Nemov were severely beaten.
The lawyer can hardly move and uses a wheelchair, and the journalist cannot even sit due to her injuries, said Babinets.
“Both were severely beaten by people in black balaclavas, who threatened them, including with firearms. Alexander Nemov, as we understand it, was hit with something sharp, possibly with a knife, in the leg… Both were kicked, punched, and beaten with polypropylene pipes. We reminded them of all their activity, the courts, the trials they went to, ”he said in Telegram.
Babinets said that the attack on Milashina and Nemov was not of a gangster nature, according to him, “this is an attack for their activities.”
Elena Milashina herself spoke about the details of the attack in Grozny. The video from the hospital was published by the Telegram channel “Caution, news”.
“Classic kidnapping, as it all used to be. It just hasn’t happened in a long time. They pressed, threw the driver, the taxi driver out of his car, climbed into us, bent their heads, tied my hands, put them on my knees, a gun to my head. Somehow they did everything nervously, and they couldn’t tie their hands, ”said the journalist.
Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova intervened in the case, RIA Novosti reports. The Ombudsman sent telegrams to the Investigation Department of the Chechen Investigative Committee and the prosecutor of the region.
Moskalkova also asked the Chechen Ombudsman Mansur Soltaev to provide medical assistance to the journalist and ensure her safety.
The victims will be transferred to the Beslan hospital. The Team Against Torture writes that such an order was given personally by the head of the republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, after a conversation with Moskalkova.
The Union of Journalists of Russia told RIA Novosti that it was “studying the situation.” They called the attack on a journalist unacceptable. In turn, a member of the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, Alexander Brod, told the agency that he was preparing an appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation in connection with the beating of Milashina and Nemov.
Sobchak wrote that after the incident, Zarema Musayeva’s lawyers filed a petition with the Akhmatovsky District Court of Grozny to ensure their protection.
Later, TASS, citing the Commissioner for Human Rights in North Ossetia, Tamerlan Tsogoev, reported that Milashina and Nemov were planned to be transported from Beslan to Moscow by the Ministry of Emergency Situations. The Ombudsman also said that both victims had numerous fractures, Nemov had a stab wound.
Federation Council member Alexei Pushkov said that he would ask the leadership of the Investigative Committee of Russia and the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation to take this situation under special control, and the Federation Council Commission on Information Policy and Interaction with the Media would discuss the attack.
“I am sure that my position will be supported,” he said.
The attack on Milashina was reported to President Putin. This was told by the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“The President has just completed his participation in the SCO. Of course, he was told. The issue is dealt with by Moskalkova, who appealed to the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic. It requires verification of the implementation of investigative actions against the backdrop of this attack. The assessment should be given by law enforcement officers, but, of course, we are talking about a very serious attack that requires quite energetic measures, ”Peskov said.
The case of Zarema Musaeva
Zarema Musaeva is the wife of the ex-judge of the Supreme Court of Chechnya, Saidi Yangulbaev, and the mother of human rights activists, Chechen oppositionists Abubakar and Ibragim Yangulbaev. Law enforcement agencies of Chechnya consider Ibrahim to be involved in the leadership of the 1ADAT Telegram channel (recognized as extremist and banned in the Russian Federation).
In January 2022, Zarema Musayeva’s family reported that armed men in civilian clothes came to her apartment in Nizhny Novgorod and presented a warrant to be forcibly brought in for interrogation in Chechnya. A 52-year-old woman was forcibly taken to Grozny. Human rights activists said that she suffers from diabetes, but she was not allowed to take the necessary medicines.
The Chechen Interior Ministry stated that Musaeva was forcibly brought in for questioning as a witness in a fraud case. Later, the department claimed that Musayeva attacked a policeman. According to investigators, the woman “expressed rude obscene language against citizens” and “showed aggression” when she stood next to the duty unit. The district police officer approached her and said that she was breaking the law, so he would draw up a protocol on hooliganism. After that, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Musayeva attacked the policeman, scratched and beat.
The woman was arrested and taken to a special detention center, and then a criminal case was opened for assaulting a police officer. She spent almost 1.5 years in a pre-trial detention center. On June 15, the prosecutor asked Musayeva to be sentenced to 5.5 years in a penal colony. On the day of the attack on Milashina and Nemov, July 4, the demand of the state prosecution was satisfied without changes,
the court found Musayeva guilty of fraud and violence against a police officer.
Lawyer Nemov planned to be present at the sentencing, the doctors stitched him up, but the Rise Telegram channel reported that Nemov would not come to court.
“He got much worse. Now both Nemov and Milashina, accompanied by the human rights ombudsman in Chechnya, are going to Beslan, where the lawyer and the journalist will receive the necessary medical assistance,” the Team Against Torture said.
What is known about the activities of Milashina
Elena Milashina is a correspondent for Novaya Gazeta. She conducted investigative journalism, including investigating the murder of Novaya Gazeta columnist Anna Politkovskaya.
In 2006, Milashina survived an assassination attempt in Beslan. In February 2022, Milashina revealed that she had received “numerous personal threats” and would therefore temporarily leave Ro. ssii.
In January 2022, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, called Milashina and a member of the Human Rights Council and the founder of the “Committee against Torture” Igor Kalyapin “terrorists who make money on the topic of the Chechen Republic and Chechens”, and called on law enforcement agencies to detain them.