Chechyna Muslim Cleric Hate
Religious leaders encourage retaliation against journalists at Grozny mosque meeting
14 april 2017
The newspaper Novaya Gazeta has urged the Russian government to respond
to calls for retaliation against journalists voiced, the editors claim,
by Islamic theologians in Chechnya on April 3.
The meeting in the central mosque of Grozny was convened in connection
with the publication of Novaya Gazeta’s article on the persecution of
homosexuals in the Chechen Republic. According to the publication
Grozny-Inform, 15,000 people attended the meeting.
Meeting participants adopted a resolution in which they declared that
the Novaya Gazeta journalists had “insulted the centuries-old
foundations of Chechen society and the dignity of Chechen men,” as well
as their faith. “We promise that the true instigators will be subjected
to retribution, wherever and whoever they are, without statute of
limitations,” the resolution read.
“It is obvious to us that this resolution is pushing religious fanatics
to massacre journalists,” said Novaya Gazeta’s editorial board.
Journalists demanded that Russian authorities evaluate the resolution
“from [a legal] point of view” and urged them “to do everything
possible to stop any actions aimed at inciting hatred and enmity
towards journalists fulfilling their professional duties.”
Novaya Gazeta’s appeal was published on the evening of April 13. Soon,
its website stopped working temporarily. “Technical support has
informed us about a possible DDoS attack,” wrote Novaya Gazeta
journalists on Facebook. The website resumed operation as of 11:30 pm
Moscow time on April 13.
“Silence and inaction in this situation make all who are able to do
something, accomplices. This is why Novaya Gazeta continues to work in
Chechnya. But we are very aware of a high price we can pay. The
unresolved murders of our colleagues Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia
Estemirova serve as obvious proof,” read the newspaper’s statement.
In early April, Novaya Gazeta reported that more than 100 people were
detained on suspicion of being homosexuals in Chechnya in recent
months. According to the publication, detainees were kept in secret
prisons, tortured, and forced to denounce other homosexuals; three
people were killed. Chechen authorities called these statements a lie.
On April 11, Novaya Gazeta and human rights organization Agora appealed
to a court in light of the inaction of Russia’s Investigative
Committee, which did not respond to reports of the crime within 10
days, as required by law.
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