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SARATOV, Russia -- Two unknown men have severely beaten a local journalist in Russia's southwestern city of Saratov.

Sergei Vilkov, a reporter for the Obshchestvennoye Mneniye (Public Opinion) newspaper in Saratov, was attacked late on January 13 on his way home.

Vilkov said he had seen two attackers near his apartment block the last two days.

The attackers did not take any of Vilkov's belongings and beat him mainly on his face and head. He received medical treatment but refused hospitalization.

Vilkov says the attack was most likely connected to his professional activities.

He is known for his critical articles targeting local Orthodox Church officials, businesspeople, and authorities.

Another Obshchestvennoye Mneniye reporter, Aleksandr Krutov, was viciously attacked by two assailants in August.

No one has been detained in that case.

Attacks on Russian journalists covering crime and corruption are relatively common, particularly in the provinces, and the perpetrators are rarely found.

MINSK -- A court in Minsk has sentenced a man to two years and eight months in prison for beating a homosexual man so badly that he has been in a coma.

But the court on January 13 rejected calls for Zmitser Lukashevich to be imprisoned for a homophobic hate crime.

Instead, Lukashevich was convicted of unintentionally inflicting health damage to Mikhail Pishcheuski, who has remained in a coma since Lukashevich severely beat him in May 2014.

The ruling came at a retrial in the case.

Lukashevich received the same sentence last year, but the prosecutor of Minsk's Central District demanded a retrial, saying the attack was a homophobic hate crime.

However, a different prosecutor at the retrial on January 12 did not ask for the attack to be classified as a hated crime.

Witnesses testified at the retrial testified that Lukashevich attacked Pishcheuski after loudly insulting him about his homosexuality.

Pishcheuski's relatives said after the sentencing that they will not appeal the court's decision.

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