Prominent Russian Journalist Injured in Attack in Chechnya

A Russian investigative journalist known for her work on human rights was severely beaten and badly injured, along with a lawyer, on Tuesday morning in an attack in Chechnya, according to a statement from her newspaper.

Elena Milashina, a journalist with Novaya Gazeta who uncovered the torture and killings of gay men in Chechnya, was in Grozny to cover the trial of Zarema Musayeva, the mother of exiled opposition activists, according to the newspaper. Ms. Milashina and the attorney, Alexander Nemov, who is representing Ms. Musayeva, were accosted by masked men who beat them with clubs, took their phones and demanded that they unlock the phones, according to Novaya Gazeta. Equipment and documents were also destroyed.

Ms. Milashina suffered brain injuries, her fingers were broken and she repeatedly lost consciousness, the statement said. Mr. Nemov was stabbed, according to the newspaper.

A photo posted by the newspaper showed the journalist sitting on a hospital gurney with her hands bandaged up to her wrists and most of her hair shaved off. Noyava Gazeta said it was publishing the photo with her permission.

The group Reporters Without Borders, which advocates for press freedom and tracks violence against journalists, said on Tuesday that it was “horrified by the savage attack” on Ms. Milashina. Six journalists with Novaya Gazeta, an independent news outlet, have been killed in its three decades of existence. The editor of the publication, Dmitri A. Muratov, received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. The paper suspended publication in Russia after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine because of wartime censorship laws.

In early 2022, Ms. Musayeva was taken from her apartment building in central Russia in her slippers and pushed into a black S.U.V. and taken to Chechnya. Her abduction was widely viewed as being part of a hunt for two of her sons, Abubakar and Ibragim Yangulbayev, prominent government critics who had infuriated the Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechnya.

Mr. Kadyrov had previously called Ms. Milashina a “terrorist accomplice” for her support of the Yangulbayev family.

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