The Kremlin has said the March 16 attack on well-known rights defender in Chechnya is unacceptable, but has nothing to do with the Moscow-backed leader of the North Caucasus region, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists in Moscow on March 17 that the attack on the head of the Committee to Prevent Torture, Igor Kalyapin, is "rather linked with the crime situation" in the region.
Masked men, who attacked Kalyapin in the Chechen capital, Grozny, pelted him with eggs, paint, and a cake after he was evicted from the hotel he was staying in.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the attack, which it said showed that it was "open season on human rights defenders in Chechnya."
"The authorities’ utter failure to hold anyone to account for a series of vicious attacks in recent years is like a bright green light for further attacks," a HRW statement on March 17 said.