Skip to main content
Amnesty International UK
Log in

Chechnya, Russia: 'vicious' attack on Elena Milashina and Aleksandr Nemov must be investigated

Reporter and lawyer dragged out of taxi and beaten by masked assailants early this morning

Attack prevented Nemov from being in court for the sentencing of his client to five-and-a-half years in a penal colony on trumped-up charges

‘Amnesty International condemns this cowardly assault in the strongest terms’ - Marie Struthers

Responding to the beating of Elena Milashina, a journalist working with the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and Aleksandr Nemov, a human rights lawyer, early this morning in the Russian Republic of Chechnya, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director, said:  

“The vicious beating of Elena Milashina and Aleksandr Nemov by masked assailants in Chechnya this morning was an abhorrent act of violence that must not go unpunished. 

“Amnesty International condemns this cowardly assault in the strongest terms and calls on the Russian authorities to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of those who seek truth and justice.

“This callous crime exemplifies the extreme dangers that those who fight injustice and defend human rights face in a context of open hostility from the authorities and total impunity for perpetrators.” 

Attackers wielding truncheons

Earlier today, Elena Milashina and Aleksandr Nemov were travelling to the Chechen capital Grozny to attend the sentencing of Zarema Musaeva, a client of Nemov’s who was brought to trial on trumped-up charges over the activities of her children, one of whom is a human rights defender. According to the Memorial Human Rights Centre, three black cars blocked a taxi taking Milashina and Nemov from the airport and masked assailants dragged the pair out of the vehicle. The attackers, who were wielding truncheons, kicked and punched Milashina and Nemov, struck them in the head and threatened to kill them if they didn’t stop their human rights work. They also destroyed their reporting equipment and documents. The assailants broke Milashina’s fingers on both hands while forcing her to unlock her phone. They also stabbed Nemov in the leg. Later in the day, Zarema Musaeva was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in a penal colony following an unfair trial without her lawyer Nemov - who was hospitalised - being present. 

View latest press releases