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Teofil Pancic has been a fixture on the Serbian political column scene since 1999.
Teofil Pancic, a journalist for the independent weekly "Vreme" and an RFE/RL columnist, was attacked by unknown assailants who beat him with a metal bar on a Belgrade bus late on July 24, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

He was diagnosed with concussion and arm injuries.

Pancic, who was recovering following the assault, told RFE/RL that he suspects the two men were following him before the beating aboard a packed bus.

He is widely known for his uncompromising stance against runaway nationalism and sports hooliganism.

"I didn't understand what they were saying [during the attack], but it's obvious that this was a targeted attack," Pancic said. "This was no mistake, no robbery, but a personally targeted attack."

The police said they were looking for the assailants, who fled the scene after leaving the metal bar at a bus stop.

Pancic, 45, has been a regular fixture on the Serbian scene as a political columnist since 1999. Aside from his work for RFE/RL and "Vreme," Pancic has written for a number of newspaper and other publications in the Balkans and elsewhere.
CHELYABINSK, Russia -- Four policemen have been sentenced to prison sentences after being found guilty of murdering a man in the central Russian province of Chelyabinsk, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The officers were convicted of beating Sergei Udavikhin to death after detaining him following an altercation at a bar in the city of Chelyabinsk in November 2008.

Major Stanislav Fomin and Sergeant Vilshat Khadiev were given 10 years in prison, warrant officer Rinat Kamalov 12 years, and Sergeant Sergei Vasilenko 11 years. A fifth policeman, Sergeant Ruslan Tarasenko, who was found to have beaten other men but did not harm Udavikhin, was given a suspended sentence of three years.

The policemen detained Udavikhin and three others at the bar after a fight that Udavikhin had apparently witnessed. At the police station the four policemen were joined by Fomin, who was on duty at the time.

The police were found by the court to have attacked Udavikhin, punching him dozens of times and killing him.

A coroner's report states that Udavikhin's skull and spine were severely injured. Several of his ribs were broken and several of his internal organs were ruptured as a result of the beating.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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