Kremlin to oppose illegal influence methods against journalists for reports on Chechnya
Earlier, Novaya Gazeta saw a direct threat to journalists writing about the persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya in appeals for retribution to "spreaders of slander" at a meeting of Islamic theologians in the mosque of Grozny.
Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov commented on the situation with threats against Novaya Gazeta journalists after a series of articles on detentions and homicides of homosexuals in Chechnya. As reported by Rain Channel, Peskov noted that the Kremlin was watching this situation after receiving a letter from Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov and "opposing illegal methods of influencing journalists".
"If in someone’s opinion, there were slanderous materials, there are legal methods of challenging prescribed by the law. Obviously, we are strongly opposed to any other methods of influence. Especially against actions that could pose a threat to the security and life of journalists", –Peskov emphasized.
When it comes to the same problem of oppression of sexual minorities in Chechnya, Peskov answered that the Kremlin did not have "reliable information about any problems in this area in the Chechen Republic". He also added that the Presidential Administration was not aware of the complaints of homosexuals to the law enforcement agencies, but noted that "information needs verification".
Novaya Gazeta reported threats to the editors on April, 13. According to the publication, they were voiced during a meeting of Islamic theologians and leaders of public opinion in Chechnya, which was urgently convened in the main mosque of Grozny after Novaya Gazeta had written about illegal detentions, tortures and killings of people of unconventional sexual orientation in Chechnya.
During his speech adviser to the head of Chechnya Adam Shakhidov accused the editors of Novaya Gazeta of slandering and labeled them as "enemies of our faith and our homeland". The resolution of the meting said that "an insult has been inflicted on the centuries-old foundations of the Chechen society and on the dignity of Chechen men, and retaliation will overtake true instigators, wherever and by whoever they are, without the limitation period".
After Novaya Gazeta" publicized the text of the resolution, Chechen mufti Salakh-haji Mezhiev slightly altered the calls from the mosque of Grozny during Govorit Moskva radio channel broadcast, having added different meaning to the threats.
"As for the retribution, the retribution of Allah will overtake them without fail. It was necessary to be afraid when they spread unsupported slander. They had to be afraid of being held accountable. Now they will answer in any case, answer according to the letter of the law of the Russian Federation", –Mezhiev said. He also noted that the journalists "touched the entire Chechen people, touched the clergy, the most sacred".
Novaya Gazeta reported on mass detentions, tortures and at least three murders of homosexuals in the Chechen Republic on April, 1. The publication caused calls to investigate information from the international community and rageful, full of homophobic overtones denials of official representatives of Chechnya.
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