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Television journalist, previously attacked over his work, found dead

(CJES/IFEX) - Vyacheslav Ifanov, a cameraman with the television station Novoye Televideniye Aleiska (NTA), was found dead in his car in Aleisk, Altai territory, in the early hours of 5 April 2007. The journalist's colleagues believe he was murdered.

The journalist's death shocked his colleagues, NTA Director Yevgeny Filippov told CJES. "The thing is that our town is very small, with a population of only 30,000 people, and the death of any person, whether a journalist or not, draws a response. We believe this is a very unclear and suspicious story. We were not notified of the autopsy results. If he committed suicide, who caused him to do it? If he was murdered, who did it? I have not heard that he was receiving threats. The local police are not giving any comment. Journalists have decided to conduct their own investigation, but I'm not sure they will be able to find anything out," he said.

On 21 January, Ifanov was beaten by people dressed in camouflage. According to Filippov, the incident occurred when Ifanov was filming a large group of people in military uniform as he drove to work. The men broke the journalist's camera and he ended up in hospital with a concussion. After leaving the hospital, he was questioned by the police. His attackers were identified, but the case did not go any further. "The military dragged out the investigation and said the people identified by Vyacheslav were out of town on assignments. The military prosecutor's office told us that 'people in camouflage uniform are not necessarily military men.' In other words, no culprits were found," said Filippov.

Ifanov's colleagues believe that, with such an attitude in the law enforcement agencies, the people who killed him will never be found.

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