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Kazakh Police Arrest Suspect In Journalist's Beating


Journalist Igor Larra was severely beaten by unknown attackers.
Police in Kazakhstan say a man suspected of attacking a journalist in the northwestern city of Aqtobe has been apprehended.

In a statement, Aqtobe police officials said the suspect had confessed to beating and robbing the correspondent with the independent "Svoboda Slova" (Freedom of Speech) newspaper.

Igor Larra said four men attacked him with a metal rod on August 20.

Larra sustained wounds to his scalp and lost consciousness after the attack.

According to police, Larra's mobile phone was found in the suspect's possession.

Police denied Larra's statement that he had received no medical assistance, adding that doctors reported that Larra was intoxicated.

The police said Larra did not mention in his original report that the attackers had hit him with a metal rod, as he said later.

Larra said that his wallet was not taken during the incident. He said he believed that the assault was connected to his journalistic work.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Kazakh officials to thoroughly investigate the attack.

In a statement, HRW said police were slow in responding and in ordering a medical examination of Igor Larra.

In 2010, Larra was severely beaten by unknown individuals after he covered an oil workers' strike in western Kazakhstan.

With reporting by Interfax and adilsoz
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