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Protest against attempted murder and beating up of journalists and activists in Russia

O P E N L E T T E R T O:

Mr. Dmitry Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation
Mr. Vladimir Putin, prime minister of the Russian Federation
Russian police and investigators

24 November, 2010

PROTEST AGAINST ATTEMPTED MURDER AND BEATING UP OF JOURNALISTS AND ACTIVISTS IN RUSSIA


We protest against attempted murder and the beating up of journalists and activists in Russia, and against continual disinterest and lack of efficincy of the Russian authorities in finding and prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes.

A new surge of brutal attacs on the three journalists and two activists in Moscow, which happened in succession last week, proves that the perpetrators and criminals in Russia do not fear the police, investigators nor jurisdiction.

Leading journalist of Moscowian paper «Kommersant» Oleg Kashin is hospitilized, in a comma, and is in a life threatening state at the moment. Two thugs attacked him in the night of November the 6th 2010 in front of his house. They were kicking him violently for a minute and a half, broke both his legs, all fingers, he lost a piece of one finger, and got his skull fractured. The video of the attack has gone around the world and been shown on numerous Internet portals. The identity of two attackers is still not known to the Russian authorities.

Anatolij Adamchuk, journalist of the paper «Zhukovskiye vesti», has been hospitalized with a concussion after being attacked on Monday, November the 8th 2010 by two men who are still unidentified.

The enviromental activist Konstantin Fetisov is in hospital in a serious state due to injuries from the beating he received in Khimki, town near Moscow on November the 4th this year. He was attacked while coming home from the police station. Soon after this attack another activist Anatolij Fetisov got beaten up and is comatosed.Mikhail Beketov, editor of «Khimkinskaya pravda», got beaten up several times in 2008 after he revealed the plan to devestate a part of an ancient forest due to the project of making a highway near Moscow.

Oleg Kashin, Anatolij Adamchuk and Mikhail Beketov were attacked while and because of doing their work professionally in serving the public interest and the truth. All three of them were reporting in their media on making of the highway near Moscow which is going to disturb the ecosystem of the Kimski forest and about the public resistance to this project.

As a part of the «green belt» of Moscow the ancient forest of Khimki covers two and a half thousand acres, it is a habitat to wildlife like deer, wild boar and numerous kinds of birds. Two thirds of Moscowians, according to public opinion research, results of which are relayed by international media, support the enviromental activists in protesting against ecologically damaging project. Due to mass protest against making of the highway, Moscowian police carried out several raids in editorial boards, arrested and interrogated journalists who were reporting from the enviromental activists protests and took
away the recordings. This terror and repression over journalists lasts all this time since the year 2008 exactly because of the highway project.

As a consequence of public protests and the facts of negative enviromental impact the members of European Parliament stated at the beginning of this year that European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and European Investment Bank will not finance the making of the highway through Khimki forest. This decision has come to power after this case being discussed at the European Parliament.

The journalists and activists were attacked and brutaly beaten up, in attempted murder, out of two reasons – to put the stop to their further work and to intimidate the others who think to oppose corruption and organised crime in Russia.

The responsibility is on you – Russian officials and authorities, Russian police forces, Russian investigators and Russian jurisdiction, to prove that in the future the journalists of Russia will be able to carry out their professional duty without fear and that the citizens of Russia will be able to take a stand without being intimidated. If this does not happen Russia is not a democratic country. If this does not happen, and if you do not find the perpetators and do not persecute them - you are an accessory to crime.

By this letter we also send the support to fellow journalists in Russia who continue publishing and revealing the truth and urge them to establish better contacts and network with us in order to improve exchange and information finding among the countries of the Balkans and Russia.

ORGANISATIONS

Croatian Environmental Press Centre
Osijek, Croatia

Centre for Investigative Reporting
Zagreb, Croatia

ZaMirNET
Zagreb, Croatia

Web portal Soinfo.org
Sombor, Serbia

Association of Environmental Journalists „Eko news“
Novi Sad, Serbia

Monitor.hr
Zagreb, Hrvatska

Centre for Environment
Banja Luka, Republic of Srpska, BiH

Association Baobab
Koprivnica, Croatia

Union of Journalists of Slovenia
Ljubljana, Slovenia


INDIVIDUALS

Kruno Kartus
Croatian Environmental Press Centre
Osijek, Croatia

Ljiljanka Mitoš-Svoboda
Croatian Environmental Press Centre
Osijek, Croatia

Saša Leković
Centre for Investigative Reporting
Zagreb, Croatia

Danijela Babić
ZaMirNET, Zagreb, Croatia

Marija Petrinović
Journalist of Croatian Radio, Zagreb, Croatia

Srđan Dvornik
ZaMirNET, Zagreb, Croatia

Sava Majstorov
Soinfo.org, Sombor, Serbia

Dragana Ratković
Association of Environmental Journalists „Eko news“,
Novi Sad, Serbia

Marinko Jurasić
Journalist, Večernji list,
Zagreb, Croatia

Goran Šikić
Monitor.hr, chief editor,
Zagreb, Croatia

Božena Matijević
Journalist, Večernji list,
Zagreb, Croatia

David Karakaš
Croatian Environmental Press Centre,
Osijek, Croatia

Aleksandar Žiljak
Freelance artist, Croatia

Miodrag Dakić
Centre for Environment,
Banja Luka, Republic of Srpska, BiH

Olga Jovanović
Association Baobab, Koprivnica, Croatia

Vedrana Milas
Political magazine Objektiv
Zagreb, Croatia

Ivica Radoš
Freelance journalist, Croatia

Veronika Rašić, Zagreb, Croatia

Ahmet Kalajdžić
"Slobodna Dalmacija", correspondent, journalist
Dubrovnik, Croatia

Anica Karakaš, Kopačevo, Croatia

Dražen Hećimović, Osijek, Croatia

Suzana Marjanić, Zagreb, Croatia

Vlatka Dumbović Mazal

Zoran Oštrić, Freelance journalist, Zagreb

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