Journalist Svetlana Anokhina threatened with murder in Dagestan

We demand a thorough investigation and punishment for those guilty

On the 22nd of July the journalist Svetlana Anokhina received a phone call from a man who called himself Dalgat Umakhanov and said that he has “been charged with dealing with all feminists.” When Anokhina suggested they meet at the local police department of Makhachkala’s Sovetskii District, he just laughed, saying that the chief of that department was his cousin, and then he threatened to kill her.

Svetlana Anokhina is a Dagestani journalist, the head editor of Daptar, a media portal dedicated to women’s issues in the Caucasus, and is the author of the projects “Byl takoi gorod: Makhachkala,” “Byl takoi gorod: Derbent,” and the activist movement “Gorod Nash” (“The City Is Ours”). Over the yeast, Anokhina has worked with the newspapers “Novoe delo,” “Chernovik,” and others. Her articles on the problem of female genital mutilation in Dagestan have had a wide social resonance. Anokhina is a member of the Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union. 

After the threatening phone call Anokhina turned to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Dagestan and gave a transcript of the phone conversation to law enforcement agents. The department began to investigate.As Svetlana Anokhina reported to the JMWU, a stranger called her from a phone belonging to the instablogger Rashid Abdulmuslimov, who has become famous for his video clips of racing expensive cars and having problems with the police. Abdulmuslimov insists he never called anyone and no one else could have done so from his number. Abdulsulimov’s voice does not sound like the voice on the threatening call. 

The Journalists’ Union is outraged by the threats made toward Svetlana Anokhina. This is far from the first time that one of our colleagues has been threatened, but this time the intimidation is characterized by a particular boldness. We are concerned that this is taking place in the context of other threats, attacks and injustices toward journalists and members of civil society in Russia. In her work, Anokhina raises such pressing questions as the difficulties faced by women and children in the Northern Caucasus, and the threats are clearly intended to intimidate and silence anyone who attempts to discuss such inconvenient issues. 

The Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union demands that the authorities undertake a thorough investigation of the threats made, find and prosecute those responsible, including for obstructing the legitimate activity of journalists (article 144 of the Criminal Code of the RF), and also to offer protection to Svetlana Anokhina. Moreover, we turn for solidarity and support to the journalists and civil society organizations of Russia and other countries. Violence and threats against journalists are a problem for all of us. 

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