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The home and car of Russian journalist Yulia Latynina, pictured in 2009, were sprayed with a foul-smelling substance that affected her family and neighbors. (Reuters/Alexander Natruskin)

Russian independent journalist Yulia Latynina attacked

July 20, 2017 4:03 PM ET

New York, July 20, 2017 -- Russian authorities should investigate an attack on prominent independent journalist and columnist Yulia Latynina, bring those responsible to justice, and ensure her safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In the early hours yesterday, unknown assailants sprayed a foul-smelling substance through an open window of Latynina's house in the Moscow suburbs, as well as on her car, according to local press reports and Latynina's own account for Novaya Gazeta.

Latynina is a prominent Kremlin critic who writes a column for independent daily Novaya Gazeta and hosts a weekly talk show on the independent radio station Ekho Moskvy, Russian media reported.

According to a detailed account of the incident Latynina wrote yesterday in Novaya Gazeta, eight people, including two children aged five and nine, were affected by the substance, which has not been identified. Latynina's elderly parents suffered nausea and dizziness and the children had diarrhea. Police launched an investigation into the incident, local media reported.

"We call on Russian authorities to take this attack on Yulia Latynina seriously and ensure that she can live and work in safety," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "Latynina is one of many Novaya Gazeta journalists who have taken enormous risks to carry out independent journalism."

On a recent radio show, Latynina criticized Kremlin policies in the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya and said the sentences of five ethnic Chechen men convicted in the February 2015 murder of prominent opposition figure Boris Nemtsov were too lenient, "fake," and signaled "Putin's total surrender" to the local government.

In August 2016, an unknown assailant threw feces at Latynina near the Ekho Moskvy offices. Police said they launched an investigation, and said the assault was related to Latynina's journalism. However, no results of the investigation were made public and no perpetrators brought to justice.

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