Photographer assaulted in court room

July 31, 2006
Posted: August 25, 2006

Ivan Kudryavtsev, Listok

Kudryavtsev was attacked by Sergei Grechushnikov, head of the Ust-Koksinsky municipality, in Altai Republic, southern Siberia.

Kudryavtsev, a photojournalist for the independent weekly newspaper Listok, started to photograph Grechushnikov as he entered the local courthouse, where Grechushnikov was to appear as the plaintiff in a criminal defamation suit against another Listok journalist, Vasily Mitrofanov, local press reported.

Grechushnikov asked Kudryavtsev to stop taking pictures. As soon as Kudryavtsev complied with his demand, Grechushnikov tried to grab the camera from the journalist’s hand, breaking the camera in the process. After failing to grab the camera, Grechushnikov started to beat the journalist, editor-in-chief Sergei Mikhailov told CPJ.

According to local press reports, the fight was disrupted after other officials present in court demanded that Grechushnikov restrain himself.

Kudryavtsev immediately reported the attack to the local police. Although the police interviewed witnesses, they did not file criminal charges against Grechushnikov, Mikhailov told CPJ.

After the incident, Kudryavtsev suffered a heart attack, Mikhailov told CPJ.

Grechushnikov filed the defamation suit against Mitrofanov after Listok published an open letter to President Vladimir Putin, signed by 156 residents of Ust-Koksinsky. The letter accused Grechushnikov and another local official of using their positions to profit from the redistribution of land in the region.