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Human rights activist attacked in Khimki

(GDF/IFEX) - Albert Pchelintsev, head of the regional branch of the Movement Against Corruption, Lies and Dishonor, has been attacked in Khimki, near Moscow.

Returning home late on 25 July 2009, he was approached by an unidentified man who discharged a pistol into his mouth and ran away. According to another version, there were several attackers.

The wounded man was found by passers-by who called an ambulance and the police. Pchelintsev was taken to a hospital and operated on, but his condition remains serious; as of 27 July, he still could not talk. The regional Investigations Department has confirmed that the attack may be linked to the victim's professional activities, but they declined to elaborate. The district police said that the search for the attackers continues and the circumstances of the incident are being investigated.

According to colleagues, Pchelintsev has repeatedly received threatening phone calls with promises to "have his tongue cut off" and "his mouth gagged".

In 2008, a public reception office opened in Khimki at Pchelintsev's initiative to collect complaints about corrupt practices. During the recent elections, he sharply criticized the town administration and wrote a column in a local newspaper about corruption in the district media.

As GDF recently reported, Mikhail Beketov, editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Khimkinskaya Pravda", was beaten up in Khimki in November and has remained in hospital ever since. Also in Khimki, "Grazhdanskoye Soglasiye" editor-in-chief Anatoly Yurov and "Grazhdansky Forum" editors Yuri Granin and Yuri Slyusarev were beaten on different occasions, with no data available about the progress in the investigation of those attacks.

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