IFJ Condemns Kidnapping of Journalist in Russia

The International Federation of Journalists today condemned the kidnapping of Agence France Presse journalist Ali Astamirov and called on the Russian authorities to investigate the case.

On 4 July, Chechen journalist Ali Astamirov was accosted by three armed men, two of whom were wearing masks, in the town of Nazran in Ingushetia. The unknown individuals threatened him with a gun and bundled him into a white car without a license plate, according to an eyewitness report.

The IFJ claims that this is one of the most dangerous regions in the world for journalists. Since 1994, twenty-five journalists have been killed while covering the conflict in Chechnya and numerous journalists have been kidnapped. On 6 July, the Prosecutor's Office in Nazran announced it had launched an investigation.

Astamirov has worked for AFP for more than a year, covering Ingushetia and Chechnya. He had received several anonymous threatening phone calls in recent months.

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The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries