Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russian Journalist Brain-Damaged After 2008 Attack Dies


The attack on "Khimkinskaya pravda" Editor In Chief Mikhail Beketov -- seen here in 2010 -- left him wheelchair-bound, speechless due to brain-damage, and missing several fingers.
Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov, who was beaten nearly to death in 2008, has died in Moscow.

He was 55.

His lawyer, Stalina Gurevich, said on April 8 that her client had died in the town of Khimki near Moscow.

Several reports suggested he died in hospital after choking when food got caught in his breathing tube or throat.

Beketov, the editor in chief of a local Khimki newspaper called "Khimkinskaya pravda," had uncovered alleged largescale corruption surrounding the controversial construction of the Moscow-St. Petersburg highway through the Khimki Forest.

ALSO READ: Khimki dispute produces new face of Russian civic activism

He was savagely beaten outside his home in November 2008 and left wheelchair-bound and unable to speak due to brain damage.

In 2010, a Khimki court convicted Beketov of slander in a case brought by the town's mayor in 2007.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic expressed sorrow following the news of Beketov's death.

"I offer my condolences to Mikhail Beketov’s relatives, colleagues and friends," Mijatovic said in a statement. "I regret that he did not live to see his attackers brought to justice. Those who try to silence journalists cannot be allowed to do so with impunity. I repeat my call to the Russian authorities to track down and prosecute those responsible."

His attackers have never been identified.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, AP, and AFP

About This Blog

"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.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More