Freedom House Questions Findings of Investigation into Journalist’s Attack in Moscow
Five months after the attack on Novaya Gazeta investigative journalist Elena Milashina and Freedom House employee Ella Asoyan in Moscow, Freedom House is concerned with inconsistencies in the official investigation and falsification of facts in the case, and calls on the Russian authorities to conduct a probe into the results of the investigation and to take appropriate measures to ensure that the true perpetrators are brought to justice.
On April 5, Milashina and Asoyan were attacked by two unknown men on the outskirts of Moscow. Milashina suffered numerous injuries including extensive trauma to the head. Asoyan suffered bruising, and a bag containing her laptop computer was stolen. The preliminary findings of the official investigation call into question the seriousness of investigators in pursuing the real culprits in the attack. Freedom House’s concerns include: the detainment of two suspects whose physical appearance does not match a description of the attackers given by the victims; a refusal by the police to investigate the failure of police officers at the scene to follow proper procedure; falsification of dates in the case materials; and the reluctance by the police to investigate a connection with Elena Milashina’s professional activity.
“Freedom House reiterates its condemnation of the attack and calls for Russian authorities to conduct a credible probe into the preliminary findings of the official investigation, including the slow response by police to the victims’ distress call,” commented David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. “The case must remain a priority until the real perpetrators are brought to justice, which would discourage further attacks against journalists and human rights defenders in Russia.”
The Russian constitution guarantees freedom of speech and of the press, but the media environment is severely restricted and Russia remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.
Russia is rated Not Free in the 2012 editions of Freedom House’s Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press surveys and Partly Free in Freedom House’s Freedom of the Net 2011 survey.
For more information, visit:
Freedom in the World 2012: Russia
Nations in Transit 2012: Russia
Freedom of the Press 2011: Russia
Freedom on the Net 2011: Russia
Blog: Freedom at Issue
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.
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