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Witness In Russian Soccer Players' Assault Case Falls From Czech Hotel Balcony

Updated

Zenit St. Petersburg striker Aleksandr Kokorin (2nd left) and Krasnodar midfielder Pavel Mamayev arrive for a hearing in Moscow on April 3.

PRAGUE -- A key witness in a case that resulted in prison terms for two Russian soccer players who assaulted a government official in Moscow has sustained "serious injuries" after falling from a fourth-story balcony at a Czech resort, Russian and Czech authorities say.

Czech police on May 14 gave no indication of possible foul play in the weekend incident involving the woman, who was identified by friends and the Russian media as Yekaterina Bobkova -- a witness in the case against soccer players Aleksandr Kokorin and Pavel Mamayev.

A Moscow court last week sentenced Kokorin, a striker with Zenit St. Petersburg, to 18 months in prison and handed a 17-month-sentence to Mamayev, a midfielder for Krasnodar F.C. for the assault on Russian official Denis Pak in a central Moscow cafe in October.

The assault triggered widespread outrage and has drawn extensive media coverage in Russia.

Bobkova, who was with the players at the time of the assault, fell from a fourth-floor balcony late on May 10 at a hotel in Spindleruv Mlyn, 150 kilometers northeast of Prague, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a Czech police spokesman who did not identify the woman by name.

Bobkova went out onto the balcony to smoke at around 11 p.m. that evening and was later found on the ground below with "numerous injuries," after which she was hospitalized in the nearby city of Hradec Kralove, police spokesman Lukas Vincenc was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.

Vincenc said her injuries did not indicate she had been assaulted, and that it appeared she "sat on the balcony railing with a cigarette and lost her balance," RIA Novosti reported.

Jakub Sochor, a spokesman for the Faculty Hospital of Hradec Kralove, confirmed to RFE/RL on May 14 that Bobkova had been admitted to the facility.

"She is in a serious, but non-life-threatening condition and remains under the care of doctors," he said, adding he could not give any further details.

The Russian Embassy in Prague told RFE/RL in an e-mailed statement that Czech police had confirmed Bobkova was involved in an "accident" on May 10. Bobkova was in an induced coma at the Hradec Kralove hospital, and police were investigating the incident, the embassy added.

The Russian news outlet RBK quoted an unidentified relative of Bobkova's as calling the fall from the balcony "an accident."

Russia's REN-TV quoted a friend as saying that she and Bobkova had been spending time in Czech Republic with ice-hockey players from Slovenia.

With reporting by RIA Novosti, RBK, and REN-TV
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