18 Mar 2020 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 06 Mar 2020 n° 25/2020 Sweden

Chechen Blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov Assaulted

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ RSF
Partner CPJ RSF
On 26 February 2020, an unidentified person broke into Chechen blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov’s apartment while he was asleep and beat him with a hammer, according to news reports and a report by Vayfond, a Sweden-based Chechen human rights group. Abdurakhmanov woke up and fought the assailant, and was able to stop the attack and call police, according to the same reports and the blogger’s brother, Muhammad Abdurakhmanov, who spoke to the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel (Caucasian Knot).

Abdurakhmanov posted a video following the attack, which has been taken down from YouTube but was reposted on Kavkazsky Uzel, where he questioned the assailant, who said he had come from Moscow at the orders of “Abdurakhman from [Chechen capital] Grozny,” and added that “they have my mother.”

The blogger’s neighbor, who spoke to the BBC’s Russian service, said that Abdurakhmanov had a severe headache from a hammer blow, but did not look seriously injured. He was brought to a local hospital in an ambulance, the neighbor, who was not identified by name, told the BBC.

Abdurakhmanov is blogger whose two YouTube channels have more than 330,000 subscribers. He frequently posts criticism of Chechen authorities and of Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Russian-administered republic.

Abdurakhmanov has lived in exile since fleeing Chechnya in 2015, following threats from a Chechen official linked to Kadyrov, according to news reports. After Georgia refused his asylum claim, Abdurakhmanov moved to Poland, where his request for asylum was denied in 2018, according to news reports.

Both Vayfond and the blogger’s brother called the assault an assassination attempt.

On 30 January, the body of Imran Aliev, another Chechen blogger, was found in a hotel room in Lille, in northern France, with stab wounds in the throat and chest. CPJ was not able to determine whether Aliev's death was tied to his reporting. Abdurakhmanov said in a video that he believed he was the real target in the attack that killed Aliev.
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