North Caucasus, 9th March, 2016: A group of masked men, armed with baseball bats and “sharp objects”, has attacked a minibus carrying nine people, including foreign and Russian journalists as well as Russian human rights defenders. The delegation were dragged from the bus and beaten before their minibus was set alight. Five of the party have been taken to hospital. The group was travelling between Ingushetia and Chechnya as part of a tour organised by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture to document human rights violations.
Shortly after this attack a group of masked men, armed with automatic weapons, was seen to enter the offices of the Joint Mobile Group – a Chechen human rights organisation set up by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and other human rights groups – where they ransacked the offices. Staff of the Group, who were not present at the time, monitored the attack through security camera footage. They are currently unable to visit the offices to assess the damage.
International human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch and SRT grantee Frontline Defenders, have denounced the attacks and called on Russian authorities to immediately investigate the incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice. The statement from Human Rights Watch can be found here: https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/03/09/russia-journalists-activists-attacked-north-caucasus.
The story has also been covered in international news sources such as The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/10/journalists-beaten-and-bus-torched-on-chechnya-tour-say-activists
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