CPJ condemns murder of journalist in Rostov region

New York, March 13, 2002—Natalya Skryl, a business reporter working for the Nashe Vremya newspaper in the city of Rostov-on-Don in southwestern Russia, died on March 9 from head injuries sustained during an attack the night before, according to local press reports.

Skryl, 29, reported on local business issues for a newspaper owned by Rostov regional authorities.

Just before her death, the journalist was investigating an ongoing struggle for the control of Tagmet, a local metallurgical plant. Nashe Vremya editor-in-chief Vera Yuzhanskaya believes that Skryl’s death was related to her professional activities, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

“We are saddened by the tragic death of Natalya Skryl, and we call on local and federal authorities to investigate the case aggressively,” said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper.

Robbery Motive Ruled Out

Late on the evening of March 8, Skryl was returning to her home in the town of Taganrog, just outside Rostov-on-Don, when she was attacked from behind and struck in the head some dozen times with a heavy, blunt object.

Neighbors called an ambulance and the police after hearing her scream. Skryl was found unconscious just outside her home and taken to the Taganrog hospital, where she died the following day.

The Taganrog prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the case and is currently reviewing Skryl’s notebooks, audio recordings and computer diskettes, as well as interviewing her colleagues.

The investigators have ruled out robbery as a motive, given that Skryl was carrying jewelry and a large sum of cash that were not taken.