Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Newspaper editor attacked for independent coverage in Kaliningrad.


   The chief editor of the "Dvornik" (street sweeper), a regional newspaper in Kaliningrad, Alexey Shabunin, was attacked late Thursday, July 2, while he was riding a bicycle on his way home from a garage. The journalist is currently recovering from the assault in the local hospital.
   An unknown hooded man hit him on the head with a steel rod. Despite a severe injury, Shabunin was able to seek medical aid and file a complaint at the local police station.
   A criminal probe into the bodily blows has been opened and the investigators have already found the steel rod likely to contain the attacker’s fingerprints.
   Recalling his previous encounters with law enforcement officials, Alexey Shabunin tends to connect the assault with his professional activity. In early June, he was arrested and kept in detention for 4 days for a road accident he could not have possibly caused as he was in his office at the time, the journalist claims.
   It is worth mentioning that the "Dvornik" owner, Arseniy Makhlov, was hospitalized in March 2008 after having been stabbed in the back by unknown attackers.
   The paper is well- reputed for its high-profile independent coverage of local social and political events.
   Shabunin tried to report the incident to the Baltiyski district police department immediately, but an officer in charge would not accept his statement, saying he was off duty for dinner. Police opened a probe only after the local press covered the attack.
The policemen, captain Edward Kostenko and captain Michael Agievich who have not accepted the statement from the editor are sacked by major general of police Sergey Kirichenko .

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