Masked assailants in Chechnya have attacked and severely injured Novaya Gazeta reporter Yelena Milashina and lawyer Alexander Nemov, who is defending Zarema Musayeva, the mother of several exiled Chechen activists. According to a post on Novaya Gazeta's Telegram channel, the assailants stopped a car carrying the journalist and the lawyer on their way from the airport to Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. They subjected them to a severe assault, causing injuries, and also vandalized their equipment and documents.
According to a report by the Memorial Human Rights Center, Milashina and Nemov were kicked and hit in the face, had a gun held to their heads and were threatened with death. At the same time they were told: “You were warned. Get out of here and don't write anything.”
Both victims are now in the hospital. Nemov is experiencing difficulty speaking and moving due to a stab wound, while Milashina has broken fingers and frequently faints. The assailants shaved Milashina’s head and doused her with green dye. The journalist's colleagues stated that she is in critical condition and requires specialized transportation.
Elena Milashina after the assault
Crew Against Torture
“It was a textbook kidnapping, the way it used to be. There has simply not been anything like this for a long time. They pinned me down, threw the chauffeur, the cab driver, out of his car, climbed on top of us, bent our heads down, tied my hands and knelt me down, put a gun to my head. They were pretty nervous, they couldn’t tie my hands,” Elena Milashina told Chechen ombudsman Mansur Soltaev.
Mansur Soltaev is the same ombudsman who spoke to Zarema Musaeva after she was kidnapped in Nizhny Novgorod.
In that video, Musaeva claimed that “law enforcers did not use any violence against,” but the video clearly showed that she was in a serious condition, as her speech and movements were stunted.
Telegram channel “Ostorozhno, Novosti” published a video of Milashina speaking to Soltaev at the hospital.
A policeman came to the hospital to visit the victims, but they refused to testify because they saw no point in doing so, reported the Crew Against Torture.
Milashina and Nemov flew to Chechnya’s capital Grozny for the sentencing of Zarema Musayeva, scheduled for July 4. Zarema Musayeva is the wife of former judge Saidi Yangulbayev and the mother of Abubakar and Ibragim Yangulbayev, both of whom have fled abroad citing harassment from Chechen authorities over their online criticism of Kremlin-backed Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov. Musayeva stands accused of “assaulting” security forces.
Musayeva was abducted from her apartment in Nizhny Novgorod in January 2022 by Chechen security forces and forcibly taken to Chechnya. Alexander Nemov represents her interests in court.