Journalist Elena Milashina was treated for injuries she received after being beaten in Chechnya. After being examined in a Moscow clinic, where she was diagnosed with a closed head injury, up to 14 fractures to the bones of her hands, and multiple soft tissue contusions, she spoke about the attack.
“Sasha [Lawyer Alexander Nemov] called a taxi from Grozny, we got into the car, drove 500 meters, and we were surrounded by several cars.
“I saw one car, which forced us to pull over to the side of the road on the left side of the car. Four people wore masks, black T-shirts, trousers, and baseball caps. Then I saw the whole thing in bits and pieces because many assailants immediately piled into our car. They immediately bent our heads down and tried to tie our hands.
“We drove a few more meters, then they dragged us out of the car, took us to a ravine, and there they beat us much more seriously with polypropylene sticks - the kind of standard equipment used for torture in Chechnya. I have written a lot about it, but this was the first time I experienced it myself,” she said.
The journalist had been writing about lawlessness in the republic of Chechnya for many years. On July 4, a group of armed men attacked her and a lawyer, Alexander Nemov, who was traveling with her. They had flown to Grozny to attend the announcement of the sentence against Zarema Musayeva, the mother of two exiled Chechen rights activists, Abubakar and Ibragim Yangulbayev.
Milashina and her companion did not make it to the trial, to see Musayeva received 5.5 years in prison. The Kremlin described the attack against them as a “serious incident” that “requires energetic measures.”
During the beating the attackers, some of whom had handguns, said: “You have been warned. Go away from here and do not write anything.”
The Russian human rights NGO “Команда против пыток” (Team Against Torture), which is based in Nizhny Novgorod commented on the injuries to the pair after the attack, which left them barely able to move or speak, and in addition to being beaten Nemov had been stabbed in the leg.
"Both of them were beaten with legs, hands, polypropylene pipes. They were reminded of all their activities: jobs, courts, trials they went to, and what Lena Milashina wrote about. So, by all appearances, this is clearly not a gang attack. This is an attack on their activities," said Sergei Babinets, head of the Team Against Torture.
Babinets later reported that the human rights ombudsman from the Chechen Republic, Mansur Soltaev, came to the hospital to check on and interview Milashina and Nemov about the incident.
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