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Russia3 August 2006

Authorities say homeless intruder murdered Gerasimenko

Reporters Without Borders said today it was baffled by an announcement by the Russian authorities on 1 August that a 39-year-old homeless man, who they did not name, has been accused of last week’s murder of reporter Yevgeny Gerasimenko of the regional weekly Saratovski Rasklad.

Describing the case as “closed,” the Internal Affairs Department (GUVD) said the suspect entered Gerasimenko’s apartment through the first-floor kitchen window, fought with him, managed to tie him to a chair, suffocated him by putting a plastic bag over his head and then robbed the apartment. The intruder committed the murder “in order to steal the victim’s personal items,” the GUVD said.

Reporters Without Borders said: “We call on the Internal Affairs Department to restart the investigation from scratch. We are astounded that investigators lost no time in ruling out the possibility that Gerasimenko was killed because of his work as a journalist, especially as his computer was taken.”

Gerasimenko covered music and sport for his newspaper.


27 July 2006

Reporters Without Borders deeply shocked at murder of journalist

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Reporters Without Borders said today it was “deeply shocked” at the murder of Yevgeny Gerasimenko, of the regional weekly Saratovski Rasklad, whose body was found at his apartment yesterday by his mother, and called on the authorities to thoroughly investigate his death, which it said was probably linked to his work.

“This has happened just a few days after the end of the G8 summit meeting that Russia chaired in St. Petersburg,” the international press freedom organisation said. “None of the world leaders attending publicly mentioned Russia’s ever-worsening press freedom. At least 13 journalists have been killed in the country because of their work since 2000 and none of the cases has been solved by the authorities.”

Gerasimenko was a sports and music reporter on the paper, in Saratov (southeast of Moscow), but also did investigative reporting. Colleagues said he had been looking into local corruption and the activities of firms in the region and was about report on this in the next issue of the paper on 1 August.

He was found with a plastic bag on his head and had been tortured. His computer was missing, which suggested, along with other evidence, that he was killed for his work. The regional prosecutor’s office has begun an enquiry under article 105 of the criminal code.

Reporters Without Borders expresses condolences to his family and colleagues.




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