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Russian Court Overturns Slander Conviction Against Khimki Journalist

Mikhail Beketov
KHIMKI, Russia -- A Russian court today overturned the slander conviction of Mikhail Beketov, an independent Russian journalist and environmental campaigner left wheelchair-bound after a brutal 2008 attack.

Beketov, the founder and editor of a small newspaper in Moscow's Khimki suburb, was among the first to report on and protest controversial plans to build a highway across the Khimki forest.

Beketov was left paralyzed and unable to speak after he was beaten by unknown assailants in 2008. His assailants have not been found.

Last month, a Khimki court found Beketov guilty of slander for accusing the town's mayor of blowing up his car. The court also symbolically imposed a fine but the journalist was exempt from paying it. Nevertheless, Beketov appealed the guilty verdict.

The presiding judge of the Khimki Town court today ruled that Beketov's conviction should be overturned as his guilt has not been proven in court.

RFE/RL's Russian Service, with agency reports