New York, April 27, 2010—Regional prosecutors should immediately investigate the brutal attack on Monday on Arkady Lander, editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Mestnaya (Local) in the southern city of Sochi, and bring his assailants to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
The attackers did not rob Lander and fled the premises, Kavkazsky Uzel said. The editor was hospitalized with a broken skull and a concussion, the Russian service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
“Investigating authorities in Sochi must carry out a swift, thorough, and effective probe into the savage attack on Arkady Lander,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator
Lander, 62, told Kavkazsky Uzel after the incident that he believes it is related to his journalism. Mestnaya started publishing in January with a circulation of 50,000 and is distributed in Sochi free of charge, he said in a March interview for Kavkazsky Uzel. The newspaper covered Sochi’s March 14 municipal elections from a pro-opposition angle.
Witnesses told Kavkazsky Uzel they discovered that the doors to the apartments next to the editor’s had been blocked from outside with wooden sticks to prevent residents from coming out to help Lander.