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Hungary25 June 2007

Journalist who probed fuel rackets hospitalised after being badly beaten

Reporters Without Borders today condemned a physical attack on investigative journalist Iren Karmen, who was badly beaten by two men in Budapest on 22 June and was left unconscious on the banks of the River Danube, where she was found by a fisherman the next morning. She is now hospitalised in Budapest with serious head injuries.

Karmen receiving several email and telephone threats last winter apparently prompted by her research into fraudulent dealings in petroleum products and other forms of corruption in the early 1990s. The authorities are investigating the attack.

“We strongly condemn this attack on Iren Karmen and we call for a very thorough investigation so that light is shed on all aspects of the case,” Reporters Without Borders said. “There can be no impunity when press freedom is threatened.”

The Association of Hungarian Journalists (MUOSZ) said it was “shocked” by the attack, while Miklos Haraszti, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s representative for media freedom, condemned “all criminal attacks that obstruct free expression.”

Such a violent physical attack on a journalist is rare in Hungary and has been condemned by the entire political class. Government spokesman David Daroczi said the National Security Bureau would help the police with the investigation.

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