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Charges laid against official who attacked, injured reporter

(GDF/IFEX) - Investigators from the Naro-Fominsk District police department have started legal proceedings under Article 112 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code ("deliberate infliction of moderately grave bodily damage") against a municipal administration official who attacked Alexander Koltsov, a reporter for the local "Nara-Novost" newspaper, on 22 May 2011.

The attack was preceded by a critical article by Koltsov about the collapse of a pedestrian overpass in Naro-Fominsk. Shortly after the story was published, Maxim Pomitun, an official responsible for overseeing the municipal media, called the newspaper's office to express dissatisfaction with Koltsov's article and promised to meet the journalist and "have it out" with him. The meeting took place late on 22 May. After a brief verbal exchange, Pomitun attacked Koltsov. As a result of the beating, the reporter was left with numerous bruises, a large facial haematoma and a badly cut eyelid. He spent two weeks in the district hospital and received outpatient treatment for a significant amount of time afterward. Moreover, he partially lost his eyesight.

After Koltsov reported the beating to the Naro-Fominsk police, they checked into the circumstances of the incident and instituted criminal proceedings against Pomitun, who now faces up to three years in prison.

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