Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Russian Justice: Editor Nearly Beaten To Death Convicted Of Slandering Mayor

Posted by Info on 11/11/2010

The court in Khimki, near Moscow, convicted a russian editor nearly beaten to death two years ago, today wheelchair user Mikhail Beketov of slandering the local mayor and ordered him to pay nominal damages. Mikhail Beketov suffered brain damage and lost his right leg and four fingers in the attack outside his home in Khimki on 13 November 2008.
Before the attack, Beketov’s car was set on fire and his dog was killed, and the editor of Khimki newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda had publicly accused Mr Strelchenko of trying to intimidate him.

Beketov needed eight operations in hospital before finally returning home a few weeks ago. He appeared in court in a wheelchair and had great difficulty speaking.

On Tuesday, Mayor Vladimir Strelchenko told the court he saw no grounds for withdrawing the complaint he had lodged with police against the journalist.
Judge Arkady Khalatov found Beketov “guilty of slander by knowingly spreading false information tarnishing the honour and professional reputation of an individual”.

Beketov had reported on plans to build the road through Khimki’s protected forest. While the motorway plans have been frozen, another journalist and an ecologist were attacked this month.
There were more journalists reporting on such plans.
Oleg Kashin, a correspondent with Russia’s respected Kommersant newspaper, is in intensive care after being savagely beaten with an iron bar by two unknown assailants on Saturday. Some of his fingers were smashed in the attack.

Two days earlier, Khimki opposition activist Konstantin Fetisov had his skull fractured in an assault after being released from a police station, where he had been questioned about a protest.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev halted the construction of the motorway through Khimki in August, pending a public inquiry. The forest had already been partly chopped down to make way for the new multi-lane motorway between Moscow and St Petersburg, which is meant to run alongside the existing two-lane road between Russia’s two main cities. If the motorway project is abandoned, both investors and local officials stand to lose out financially. Road construction is considered to be one of Russia’s most lucrative sectors.


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