Journalist who revealed Chechen abuses forced into hiding

The Russian journalist who alerted the world to horrific treatment of gay men in The Chechen Republic has been forced to go into hiding.

Elena Milashina, the reporter at Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, published an article on April 1st claiming that over 100 men had disappeared off the streets of Chechnya, including several television journalists.

The article claimed that at least three of the detained men have subsequently been murdered, subsequent reports have revealed the establishment of detention centres for men who are gay, or perceived to be gay.

Human Rights activists have confirmed the report and shared stories of men being beaten and tortured. Gay men are reportedly now fleeing the region to avoid being rounded up by authorities.

Speaking to the BBC, Milashina said the safety of all journalists at the newspaper was in question.

“They reacted [to the story] in a terrifying manner… on April 3, in the biggest mosque in Grozny, 15,000 people came together and declared a Jihad on us… not just me personally, but all journalists at Novaya Gazeta.

Milashina, who is usually based in Moscow, is now hiding out at an undisclosed location.

The highly awarded investigative reporter is no stranger to danger, having previously been attacked.

In October 2009 she was awarded Human Rights Watch’s Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism. In 2013 Milashina was given an International Women of Courage Award by the US State Department.

Milashina’s work follows in the footsteps of her former colleague Anna Politkovskaya who gained an international reputation for her articles about conflict in Chechnya and her critical analysis of the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Politkovskaya was murdered in 2006.

OIP Staff

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