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Moldova24 June 2004

Investigation journalist brutally beaten on eve of libel case appeal

Reporters Without Borders has strongly protested after an investigative journalist was brutally beaten on the eve of an appeal court hearing of a libel case in which she was involved.

Alina Anghel, of investigative weekly Timpul, was attacked in front of her home by two thugs, who beat her with an iron bar leaving her with head injuries and a broken arm. They also stole her handbag. She was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

"Everything points to this assault being an attack against press freedom," said Reporters Without Borders, in a letter to President Vladimir Voronin, calling on him to see that everything possible was done to find and punish those responsible.

"We therefore urge you to ensure that the link with her work is treated as the most significant lead," added the organisation.

Editor of Timpul, Constantin Tanase said he was convinced the 23 June assault was directly connected with Anghel’s investigative reports into the case of a luxury car given to interior minister Gheorghe Papuc and to the defamation case taken against the paper by Daac-Hermes.

He said Anghel had received a number of telephone threats since the publication of an article in January 2004 headlined, "Luxury in the land of poverty". She revealed the existence of an agreement on luxury Skoda cars between the State Chancellery and the firm Daac-Hermes.

The assault came on the eve of the appeal court hearing of the libel action brought by the company against Timpul. The journalist was unable to attend court.

"No-one can feel safe any longer. Any citizen who does not think like the communist party can be attacked," said Tanase.

In November 2003, a journalist of weekly Timpul was physically attacked after the publication of an article critical of President Voronin.

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