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7 Feb, 2020 17:35

Well known Russian journalist Milashina & lawyer Dubrovina brutally attacked in Chechnya

Well known Russian journalist Milashina & lawyer Dubrovina brutally attacked in Chechnya

Gruesome details have emerged of an assault on a Russian journalist and her lawyer colleague after they arrived in Chechnya ahead of the high-profile local trial of a local activist.

Elena Milashina claims that she was attacked on Thursday evening, along with her companion Marina Dubrovina, in the local capital Grozny. According to Milashina's Facebook page, they were beaten by a large group of people inside the Kontinent Hotel, where they were was staying.

The group, numbering at least 15 members, approached the pair and, after a short verbal confrontation, brutally beat them for about a quarter of an hour, she alleges.

"Marina Dubrovina and I were beaten by the whole crowd, grabbed by the neck and by the head, knocked to the floor (and) my head was hit against the marble floor with great force," wrote Milashina.

She further alleged that one of the men in the group was filming the attack and that the concierge saw the entire thing but didn't call the police. "He explained to us that he didn't see anything, he didn't hear anything," she added.

Milashina, who won the Human Rights Watch's 2009 Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, is no stranger to being assaulted. In 2012, she was attacked by two unidentified men in Balashika, Moscow. She also reported receiving death threats in 2017 after covering a so-called 'gay purge' in Chechnya. She was quick to link the latest attack to her work, writing that she had previously been threatened by Chechen authorities.

Also on rt.com Human rights activist Titiyev released from prison in Chechnya

The journalist, in Grozny for the trial of Islam Nukhanov, suggested that the group of attackers had been made aware of her arrival in Grozny by a social media post. Nukhanov was arrested in late 2019, after publishing a video to YouTube about the 'Chechen Rublevka,' a luxury village he claimed is inhabited by friends and family of Chechen strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Interior Ministry in Chechnya said it was looking into the incident, and a source told agency RIA “At two o’clock in the morning, a call was received to the police on duty, about the incident at the Kontinent Hotel. The report was registered, [and] an investigation is being carried out in accordance with the established procedure.”

Chechnya's own Human Rights Ombudsman, Nurdi Nukhazhiev, expressed his certainty that the alleged attack was "aimed primarily at harming the image of the Chechen Republic and to undermine the authorities of the republic.” He blamed "stage directors" for performing the attack, and emphasized that "law enforcement agencies will figure out (who carried it out) and punish those responsible."

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