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Daghestani Journalist Beaten Following Controversial Articles

"Chernovik's" website
"Chernovik's" website
Aleksandr Polyakov, a sports journalist with the Daghestan weekly "Chernovik," has been hospitalized in Makhachkala with numerous injuries.

The founder of "Chernovik," Khadzhimurat Kamalov, told RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service that Polyakov was beaten by two unidentified men on the evening of November 9.

Kalamov said Polyakov has wounds to the head and his body is covered with bruises and abrasions. He remains bedridden, but doctors say his life is not in danger.

Kamalov said he is certain the attack on Polyakov was connected to his work as a journalist. He said that Polyakov had been repeatedly threatened by telephone following a series of articles in which he wrote about the plans of billionaire Suleiman Kerimov -- a member of the Federation Council -- to buy a local soccer team.

The president of the team, according to sources, was about to accept Kerimov's offer, but the deal was called off after several statements by Daghestan President Mukhu Aliyev. Observers believe that Aliyev's criticism was prompted by the "Chernovik" articles.

The Polyakov beating is not the first case of intimidation involving a "Chernovik" journalist.

Kalamov told RFE/RL that the courts are currently hearing two other criminal cases and a number of appeals and civil cases involving the paper and its employees. He said the paper's journalists have come under particular pressure from some law-enforcement personnel.

(by Magomedgadzhi Gasanov of RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service)

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