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CPJ Urges Russia To Bring Those Behind Attacks On Kremlin Critic Latynina To Justice


Russian journalist Yulia Latynina (file photo)
Russian journalist Yulia Latynina (file photo)

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Russian authorities to "identify and prosecute" those responsible for the attacks on journalist Yulia Latynina and to ensure she can "live and work safely" in the country.

CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova made the call in a September 11 statement, two days after Latynina said she had fled Russia following a suspected arson attack on her car.

"No journalist should be compelled to leave their home because of threats and attacks over their work," Ognianova said.

Latynina, a prominent Russian journalist and a searing critic of Russia's ruling political elite, said on September 9 that she was abroad along with her parents and that it was "unlikely" that she "would return to Russia anytime soon."

She later told Current Time TV, the Russian-language network run by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA, that she can no longer "risk the life of her parents."

Latynina, who hosts a weekly political commentary show at Ekho Moskvy, also expressed hope that she would soon return home, but said she didn’t know when that could happen.

On September 3, Latynina said that unknown "arsonists" set fire to her car, which was parked near her "wooden house."

"The gas tank could have exploded, and the only reason it didn’t was because it wasn’t full," Latynina said, adding that if her father "hadn’t put out the fire, it would have burned down the house because the flames were already four meters high."

In a statement on September 4, Russia's Journalists' Union supported Latynina’s claim and said the incident wasn’t a mere act of "hooliganism and intimidation."

In August 2016, Latynina was doused with fecal matter by an unidentified assailant. Police launched a probe, but never identified the culprit.

Following that attack, the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, to which Latynina is a regular contributor, said in a statement that Latynina has "regularly" received threats and that "several years ago" a planned attack on her was thwarted.

Latynina temporarily left Russia in March 2015 after her name was linked to a rumored "kill list" that reportedly included the names of numerous individuals who openly criticize the country’s leadership.

She said at the time that she decided to leave Russia after noticing that she was being followed on the street.

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