JOURNALISTS STOOD UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF MEN BELIEVED TO BE GAY IN CHECHNYA
The courageous journalists at Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a story on April 1st about the abduction, torture, and killing of men in Chechnya who are believed to be gay. The story shone a light on these grave human rights abuses, and has drawn international attention, condemnation and action.
But now the journalists at Novaya Gazeta are facing serious threats from influential people in Chechnya, and journalist Elena Milashina has been forced to flee.
NOW THEY FACE SERIOUS THREATS TO THEIR OWN SAFETY
In the past, public calls for retaliation by influential people in Chechnya have led to attacks and killings of journalists and other human rights defenders. These acts of violence are not properly investigated and perpetrators are not held to account.
Call on Russian authorities to investigate threats against Novaya Gazeta journalists and take steps to protect journalists and other human rights defenders >>
Novaya Gazeta journalists have regularly received threats, been arrested, attacked, and murdered. Journalists like Elena Milashina are brave human rights defenders who continue to shine a light on human rights abuses despite serious risks to their own safety.
More you can do:
Write a letter: Russian Federation: Newspaper threatened for reporting on abductions
Read: Why we need to keep our eyes on Chechnya
Dear Mr. Aleksandr Ivanovich Bastrykin,
Chair of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation,
I am writing to express my deep concern for the safety and security of journalists at Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
On 1 April, Novaya Gazeta reported that over a hundred men believed to be gay had been recently abducted as part of a coordinated campaign. Following this report, Novaya Gazeta journalists received threats including a resolution adopted at a meeting on 3 April in Grozny, which included Chechen elders, public opinion leaders and Muslim theologians, which stated that “Considering that the Chechen society’s age-long foundations have been insulted, as have been Chechen men’s dignity as well as our faith, we promise that the real instigators [of this] will face retaliation, irrespective of where and who they are, however long this takes.”
Journalists have a right to freedom of expression and must be protected from threats and attacks.
As chair of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation I call on you to:
• Address the threats made against Novaya Gazeta staff and ensure they are promptly, effectively, and impartially investigated in accordance with Article 144 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation regarding the “obstruction of lawful professional activities of journalists”;
• Publicly condemn all threats and violence against journalists;
• Commit to bringing those responsible for threats and violence against journalists to account; and
• As a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, uphold the right to freedom of expression, and protect journalists from threats and attacks.