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Journalist beaten and robbed

(GDF/IFEX) - A reporter for the Vedomosti Ural (VU) web publication was beaten in the presence of police officers for taking pictures of an illegally operating barbeque restaurant in Yekaterinburg's Leninsky district on 22 October 2011.

After repeated complaints by readers about the restaurant, and a previous series of pictures on VU's website showing it as a dirty business serving dubious food, Sergey Avdeyev was assigned by the editor to check whether anything had recently improved. According to visitors, no changes had been made.

Arriving at the restaurant in the evening, the journalist showed his ID and had hardly begun taking pictures when several men attacked him, pushed him onto the ground and proceeded to kick him. A traffic police patrol officer that happened to be nearby attempted to hold back the attackers, but the outlet's owner advised the officers to "mind their own business" and continued beating the reporter. A street police patrol officer arrived, only to drive the victim to the police station for questioning. Avdeyev went on to receive medical assistance and was found to have a concussion, and numerous bruises on his face and neck.

The police have started legal proceedings under Article 161.2 of the RF Criminal Code ("Group robbery involving the use of violence"). Mikhail Borodin, head of the regional police department, has taken the investigation under his personal oversight and instructed the city police chief, Igor Trifonov, to "conduct a thorough probe" into the incident, according to the department's spokesman Valery Gorelykh. Two suspects in the case have been detained, he said.

"We have fed information about this outrageous attack on our colleague into the Media Conflicts in Russia database compiled by the Russian Journalists'
Union jointly with the Glasnost Defence Foundation and the International Federation of Journalists," a statement by the VU management said.

"Moreover, we will supply this information, together with updates on progress in the investigation . . . to the leaders of all political parties represented in parliament to ensure that the situation is kept under public control."

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