New attack on Russian human rights defenders

Civil Rights Defenders is seriously concerned about the recent attack against Elena Milashina, journalist from the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and Ella Asoyan, a representative of the organisation Freedom House.

–    We urge the Russian authorities to fully investigate the attacks against Elena Milashina and Ella Asoyan, says Robert Hårdh, Executive Director. The authorities must also do everything in their power to guarantee the safety of human rights defenders in Russia.

The attack took place on a Moscow street, where two unidentified assailants kicked and hit primarily Elena Milashina, most likely with a metal object. Ella Asoyan was also punched several times. The perpetrators left the scene only after three passers-by intervened. Elena Milashina was left with a concussion, a broken tooth and serious bruising. The police was alerted immediately after the attack around 00.40 a.m., but only arrived at the scene some 1,5 hours later, at around 2 a.m. Both Elena Milashina and Ella Asoyan gave their statements to the police, who eventually initiated a preliminary investigation.

Elena Milashina works as an investigative journalist for Novaya Gazeta. She regularly reports on the situation in the North Caucasus, including the human rights abuses taking place there. Since year 2000, five Novaya Gazeta journalists, including Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 and Natalia Estemirova and Anastasia Baburova in 2009, have been killed, but so far none of the perpetrators has been sentenced. Ella Asoyan is a programme officer at the organisation Freedom House, advocating for worldwide democracy and human rights.

The frequency with which human rights defenders in Russia are being attacked continues to cause great concern. In accordance with its obligations under the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the authorities of Russia must take all necessary measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and contribute to an environment in which human rights defenders can work safely. Accordingly, states are obliged to fully investigate threats and attacks against human rights defenders and to bring those responsible to justice.

For more information please contact:
Marie Månson, Programme Director, +46-709-89 60 10

Categories: Statements.
Tags: Attack on HRD.
Regions: Russia.