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Outspoken journalist attacked for criticising city administration

(CJES/IFEX) - 12 October 2010 - Boris Reznik, secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists and deputy chairman of the State Duma committee on information policy, information technologies, and communications, gave a press conference on the recent attack on political technologist and journalist Ernest Staratelev in the Samara House of Journalists on September 28.

Reznik said he had met with Yury Terlikov, the head of the region's police, and the region's prosecutor Yury Denisov, who said that "intensive work is being done and there is hope that the crime will be resolved." Reznik said he was outraged by an attack on a man "engaging in journalistic investigations" in Samara.

However, has reported that some Samara journalists claim that Staratelev has not engaged in any journalistic investigations for at least five years and has worked as a political and election technologist in Samara and Ulyanovsk on the side of the Samara region's government, which is headed by Vladimir Artyakov (United Russia).

Staratelev was attacked in his apartment building late at night on September 22. The attackers beat the journalist and stabbed him 15 times. The journalist also sustained a head injury in that attack. A criminal case was opened on the basis of the article of the Criminal Code dealing with "deliberate infliction on severe bodily harm by a group of people."

The investigators believe the attack could be related to the journalist's work as the attackers did not take anything from the journalist.

Staratelev is known for his criticism of the city administration. On September 3, he hosted a program dealing with the transfer of objects that are property of the city to private individuals, and on September 22 he reported on money paid into the election fund of the city's Mayor Viktor Tarasov. Some politicians have already issued statements saying the attack on Staratelev could be connected to his criticism of the local authorities before the elections.

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