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Top Russian Investigator Denies Threatening Reporter

The head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin
The chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee, the main federal investigating authority in Russia, has denied claims that he threatened an independent journalist with death.

In a statement on June 14, Aleksandr Bastrykin said the allegation from the Moscow-based "Novaya gazeta" newspaper was "an intricate mix of facts and obvious lies."

"Novaya gazeta" chief editor Dmitry Muratov said on June 13 that Bastrykin had delivered a death threat to the paper's deputy editor, Sergei Sokolov, last week when Sokolov was forcibly taken into a forested area in Moscow.

Muratov said Sokolov has fled Russia in the wake of the incident, fearful for his life.

According to Muratov, Bastrykin was angered by a "Novaya gazeta" article accusing him of failing to punish the perpetrators of a 2010 mass killing by a gang in southern Russia.

Based on reporting by "Izvestia" and ITAR-TASS