New York, April 17, 2017–Russian authorities should immediately and thoroughly investigate threats made against Elena Milashina, an investigative journalist for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and a former correspondent for the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ said today. In an April 15 interview with The Washington Post, Milashina said that she left Moscow following threats to Novaya Gazeta‘s staff since she reported earlier this month that gay men were being detained and tortured in Chechnya.
“We call on Russian authorities to act swiftly, decisively, and effectively to rein in all those responsible for threatening Elena Milashina and other Novaya Gazeta journalists for the newspaper’s work,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “No journalist should be compelled to leave her home for doing her job because security forces are not doing theirs.”
A Chechen official and Muslim preachers last week accused Novaya Gazeta of defamation and threatened retaliation against its staff, CPJ reported at the time.
A Chechen lawmaker and religious officials threatened Aleksei Venediktov, editor of the radio station Ekho Moskovy, after Venediktov expressed solidarity with Novaya Gazeta‘s staff in an April 14 blog post, according to media reports. Salakh Mezhiyev–who, as the mufti of Chechnya, is an influential religious scholar–promised that Venediktov ‘s remarks would not go “unnoticed.” Lawmaker Shamsail Saraliyev called Ekho Moskovy and Novaya Gazeta journalists “blatant enemies of Russia, who try to undermine the stability of the country from within.” He added that “it is dangerous to forgive them, even if they are on their knees,” according to media reports.