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Veteran Russian Rights Activist Believes She Was Targeted For Attack


Veteran Rights Activist Attacked In Moscow
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WATCH: Alekseyeva is attacked in front of media and onlookers, including opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, who contacts a police officer after the assault in an effort to ensure that police apprehend and process the perpetrator.
(Video by RFE/RL's Russian Service)

Veteran Russian rights activist Lyudmila Alekseyeva says she probably was the target of a pre-planned attack at a memorial to commemorate victims of the Moscow bombings that killed 39 people.

The 82-year-old Alekseyeva was hit across the head on March 31 as she gave media interviews after laying flowers on the platform at the Park Kultury metro station, the site of one of the deadly March 29 suicide bombings.

An RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent who was at the event said the man hit Alekseyeva with his open hand and cursed her. (See video of the actual attack here.)

He added that none of the nearby policemen acted to detain the attacker. Instead, the man was apprehended by onlookers and taken to a police station.

Leading opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, who was accompanying Alekseyeva, took her home after the incident. He told RFE/RL's Russian Service she was suffering from a headache and might have suffered a concussion.

Alekseyeva later told Reuters she felt fine.

Russia's Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin called the attack "a horrible incident."

The suspect, named as Konstantin Pereverzev, has been charged with assault and is to remain in custody until trial.

Alekseyeva, the chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, has for decades been one of Russia's most prominent human rights activists.

This past New Year's Eve she was detained during an anti-Kremlin protest, a move that prompted condemnation from Washington and the European Union.