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Journalist attacked in Anapa

(GDF/IFEX) - Vyacheslav Martynov, from the newspaper "Anapa" and the husband of the paper's editor-in-chief Yekaterina Martynova, was attacked and beaten near his home on 26 July 2011.

As he was leaving for his office in the morning of 26 July, two sturdy young men met Martynov on the staircase between the second and third floors of his building. They started to beat and kick him on the head and chest. The journalist attempted to protect himself with a leather briefcase. The attackers were scared away by neighbours who heard the noises of the fight on the stair landing.

Martynov's wife immediately reported the incident to the police. She said her husband never had any household or property disputes with anyone. She links the beating with his professional activities; specifically with his critical publications about municipal administration attempts to privatise municipal property in the resort city of Anapa at reduced prices, as it had done with a former municipal store, the Pobeda cinema and concert hall, and a children's sanatorium on Pionersky Avenue.

Shortly before the attack, the newspaper had been subjected to administrative pressure. The municipal property management department unilaterally withdrew from an agreement of indefinite duration under which it had managed the office space used by the media outlet, and charged more than RUR 700,000 (approx. US$24,850) for rent. In addition, the administration unofficially barred reporters from attending its meetings, suggesting instead that they refer to press releases issued by the city's media relations department.

The police have instituted legal proceedings under Article 116 of the RF Criminal Code ("Infliction of light bodily damage"). After Martynov undergoes a forensic medical examination, the attack may be requalified and the charges laid against his assailants may be toughened, the newly appointed city police chief, Andrei Terekhin, said.

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