Brutal Attack in Russia Targets Journalist
Freedom House is deeply concerned by news of a violent attack on journalist Yelena Milashina of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and calls on the Russian authorities to investigate the attack and quickly bring to justice those responsible. A Freedom House employee, Ella Asoyan, was also injured in the attack.
Shortly after midnight on April 5, two unknown men attacked Milashina and Asoyan while they were returning to Milashina’s home outside of Moscow. According to Asoyan, the attackers appeared more focused on inflicting injuries to Milashina than attempting to stage the attack as a robbery. Milashina suffered a concussion, extensive trauma of the head and a broken tooth. Asoyan suffered bruising, and a bag containing her laptop computer was stolen. The attack ceased when passersby intervened.
“Sadly this kind of attack is not an isolated incident in Russia,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. “Russia continues to have one of the world’s most dangerous press environments and the attack only underscores the need to develop legal mechanisms to protect journalists and other human rights defenders.”
Milashina has reported extensively on some of Russia’s most dangerous subjects, including human rights violations in the North Caucasus and the near-fatal beating of journalist Oleg Kashin in 2010. Two of Milashina’s colleagues at Novaya Gazeta who reported on the North Caucasus, Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova, have been murdered in cases that remain unsolved.
“Freedom House calls for a thorough investigation into this horrendous attack, including the slow response to the victims’ call to the police, and urges that the case remain a priority until all of the perpetrators are brought to justice,” continued Kramer.
The two women waited over an hour for police to arrive and a statement was not taken until the next morning. A criminal case was opened only after a Facebook post by Milashina generated extensive attention on Russian social media.
For more information, visit:
Nations in Transit 2011: Russia
Blog: Freedom at Issue
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