Assaulted Russian reporter back in Moscow, condition ‘difficult’

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Award-winning Russian investigative journalist Elena Milashina, who was badly beaten in the restive republic of Chechnya, is in a “difficult” condition in a Moscow hospital, her editor told AFP Wednesday.

International press freedom and rights groups voiced concern after Milashina said she had been beaten and held at gun point with a lawyer during a work trip to the volatile region in southern Russia.

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“Milashina is in Moscow in hospital. Her condition is, frankly, difficult: she was really severely beaten, beaten with a stick,” Dmitry Muratov, the editor of her paper, Novaya Gazeta, told AFP reporters in the Russian capital.

Novaya Gazeta after the incident this week published a video of Milashina in hospital with her head shaven and her hands bandaged.

Human Rights Watch said the attackers shaved her head and poured a green-colored dye over her.

The Kremlin and the strongman leader of Chechnya said those responsible should be identified.

Muratov said Wednesday that Milashina’s fingers had been broken and that the attackers had demanded access to her phone: “Her condition is what you’d expect,” he added.

Milashina has covered rights abuses in Chechnya, the Caucasus republic ruled by former warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, for years.

Novaya Gazeta since 2000 has seen six journalists and contributors killed, including investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot dead in Moscow on President Vladimir Putin’s birthday.

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