US ‘appalled’ by brutal attack on Russian journalist and lawyer in Chechnya
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US officials have strongly condemned a brutal attack in Chechnya on an investigative journalist and a lawyer. 

According to the State Department, the investigation must be transparent to ensure justice is served. Russian journalists’ safety has been threatened by the assault on journalist Yelena Milashina and lawyer Aleksandr Nemov.

This attack against Ms. Milashina is tragically the latest in a pattern of violence against prominent investigative journalists in Russia that has met little resistance from the authorities,” the State Department said, pointing out the alarming trend of attacks against journalists. Russia was also accused of violating its international human rights obligations by the US government.

Yelena Milashina and Aleksandr Nemov attended Zarema Musayeva’s court sentencing in Chechnya, the mother of three Chechen opposition activists who have faced persecution for criticizing Ramzan Kadyrov online. During their journey, they were ambushed by armed men, who attacked them violently and injured them severely.

A chilling account of the attack was given by Milashina, who said, “They tied my hands, knelt me down, and put a gun to my head.”. 

Assailants physically assaulted Milashina, breaking her fingers and bruising her all over. A knife was used to stab Nemov in the leg during the ordeal.

It is not the first time Milashina and Nemov have been attacked. It is common for Russian journalists to face threats and violence when investigating human rights abuses and corruption. Milashina and her lawyer were beaten in a hotel lobby last year by a group of individuals. In recent years, journalists who speak out against abuses of power have been targeted repeatedly, raising concerns about press freedom.

A transparent investigation and prosecution of those responsible for this attack are urgently needed, according to the State Department’s condemnation. In order to protect journalists and ensure their safety, the international community has called on Russia to take decisive action. Reporters face grave risks in their pursuit of truth and justice, as evidenced by the assault on Milashina and Nemov.

A society in which journalists can operate without fear of violence or intimidation depends on efforts to hold the perpetrators accountable and safeguard press freedom. Reporters continue to face challenges and it is essential that we support their vital role in exposing wrongdoing and protecting democratic values in light of the attack on Milashina and Nemov.