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Moldova22 March 2006

Leading sports journalist attacked, left unconscious

Reporters Without Borders voiced deep concern today about a physical attack on sports journalist Ion Robu of the independent news agency BASA, who was waylaid as he was going to a gym in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau on the evening of 16 March. His assailants used a blunt object to hit him hard on the head, causing him to immediately lose consciousness. He was rushed to a hospital where doctors diagnosed concussion. He is no longer in danger.

“The violence of the attack could have cost Robu his life,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The investigators should therefore not rule out the possibility that it was linked to his work and they must do everything possible to identify his assailants. The senior positions held by Robu and his criticism of the Moldovan sports lobby may have made him a target.”

(JPEG) Robu said he believed he was attacked because of his work as a journalist. He told reporters he had two suspects but did not want to name them while the investigation was still under way. His assailants took nothing from him. Foreign ministry spokesman Andrei Slutu told the state news agency Moldpress that the central Chisinau police were handling the investigation.

Robu is a member of the Moldovan Press Sports Association and is one of the leaders of the Sports Union of Moldovan Journalists. In his book “Athens Marathon,” published in 2004, he was moderately critical of the Moldovan sports lobby and the performance of Moldova’s athletes in the last Olympic Games.

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