(New York, NY) — Prominent Russian journalist Elena Milashina, who originally broke the story of the brutalization of gay men in Chechnya two years ago, was attacked Thursday at a hotel in the Chechen capital Grozny. She and human rights lawyer Marina Dubrovina, also targeted in the Thursday night assault, had traveled to Grozny for the trial of Islam Nukhanov, who was arrested late last year after publishing videos of a villa purportedly owned by Chechnya’s strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Summer Lopez, PEN America’s senior director of Free Expression Programs, said the following:

“Time and again, Chechnya’s leaders and their enablers in Moscow have warned that journalists and human rights advocates exposing abuses in Chechnya would be subject to violence. And time and again, they have carried through on this grim threat. From the murder of Anna Politkovskaya to this bold attack in a hotel lobby, the henchmen of Chechnya’s authoritarian leaders will stop at nothing to silence critics. And Russian President Putin stands by and does nothing. It shows the degree to which lawlessness and violence have taken root in Kadyrov’s Chechnya. We at PEN America call for a full investigation into this brazen assault and full accountability for perpetrators who seek to silence journalists and truth-tellers.”


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, sfee@pen.org, +1 202 309 8892