24 Apr 2020 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 22 Apr 2020 n° 43/2020 Russian Federation

Chechen President Threatens Journalist Elena Milashina with Death

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 PEN RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 PEN RSF
On 13 April 2020, the President of the Republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, directed death threats at Novaya Gazeta's journalist Elena Milashina. Kadyrov expressed these threats in relation to the publication in Novaya Gazeta of an article criticising human rights violations in Chechnya under the pretext of combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a speech held on 13 April, Kadyrov accused Milashina of writing “nonsense” and blamed the Federal Security Service for not silencing her, according to a transcript of his remarks published by Novaya Gazeta. Kadyrov also commented on the article in his Telegram account, as well as posting a video on Instagram accusing Novaya Gazeta and its journalist of being a puppet of the West. In the video, he states, among other things: "I've had enough! If you [the security services] want us to commit a crime and become a criminal, tell us! One of us will assume responsibility (...) He will spend some time in prison but will at some point be released. Don't try to make us criminals, murderers...".
The speech was in response to Milashina’s 12 April report that quarantined Chechens had stopped reporting coronavirus symptoms for fear of being labeled “terrorists.” The General Prosecutor's Office ordered on 15 April Novaya Gazeta to remove the article. The article has now been removed from the newspaper's website. The General Prosecutor has not yet justified the claim that the article contains "fake news".
It is not the first time Elena Milashina receives threats. On 6 February 2020, Elena Milashina and lawyer Marina Dubrovina were attacked and beaten by an organized mob in a hotel in Chechnya's capital Grozny. Investigation into this attack has been halted after technical evidence including CCTV information had "disappeared". No one has so far been held responsible for the attack.
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