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Another journalist attacked after reporting on Khimki forest controversy

(GDF/IFEX) - Yet another journalist writing about campaigners against the destruction of the Khimki forest has been beaten up in Khimki, near Moscow. This time, Vitaly Kuzmin of the newspaper "Grazhdanskoye Soglasiye" was attacked and beaten "with either a baseball bat or a metal bar" on March 21, 2011, according to Yevgenia Chirikova, leader of the movement in defence of the Khimki forest.

The journalist himself reported the beating as late as March 28, saying he had been attacked from behind on R. Luxembourg Street. He had tried to protect his head with his hands and was brought to a local hospital with injuries to his skull and broken fingers.

Kuzmin's colleagues and friends link the assault with the re-launch of his newspaper after the sudden death of the previous editor, Anatoly Yarov, in December 2010. The new issue featured a lengthy interview with Khimki forest defenders Y. Chirikova, Alla Chernyshova and Serafima Naumocheva, and a story denouncing the poor performance of Council members.

Meanwhile, the RIA Novosti news agency has reported that the police are investigating Kusmin's beating. After a phone call from the hospital where he had been brought on the day of the attack, the police started a probe into the circumstances, regional police department spokesman Yevgeny Gildeyev said. Still, the victim does not want official criminal proceedings to be instituted, calling the attack "a matter to be settled privately".

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