Beaten Russian Reporter Is Convicted of Slander

Latest action outrages watchdog group
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2010 2:23 AM CST
Beaten Russian Reporter Is Convicted of Slander
Journalist Mikhail Beketov heads to court.   (AP)

(Newser) – A Russian journalist who lost a leg in a savage beating has now been convicted of slandering the politician he accused of corruption and plotting to hurt him. Reporter Mikhail Beketov has been ordered by a Russian court to pay $160 to Khimki Mayor Vladimir Strelchenko, triggering cries of outrage among the world's journalism community. "That's the formula for how the whole country functions," says Alexei Simonov, president of independent media watchdog organization the Glasnost Defense Foundation. "The honor of an official is priced much higher than the life of a journalist. And everything, from top to bottom, works like that."

Officials have failed to solve any of the 19 murders or several beating of journalists, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Beketov's slander conviction comes just days after another journalist was viciously beaten after he angered the same politician. Reporter Oleg Kashin remains in critical condition in a Moscow hospital. Both Beketov and Kashin have covered the controversy and corruption linked to plans for a toll road through Khimki Forest. Environmentalist have also been attacked. "I cannot comprehend what's happening, it's beyond belief," said Yevgenia Chirikova, leader of the Defenders of the Khimki Forest. (Read more Oleg Kashin stories.)

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