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Russia6 February 2002

Attack against the editor of the radio station Echo of Moscow of Samara

In a letter addressed on the 6th of February to Makhmod Kalimatov, public prosecutor of the state prosecutor’s department of Samara, Reporters sans frontières (RSF, Reporters without Borders) is worried about the attack carried out on the 5th of February against Serguei Leibgrad, editor of the radio station Echo of Moscow of Samara. „We urge you to see to it that the inquiry comes to a conclusion and to keep us informed on the outcome of the investigation that is being lead, declared Robert Ménard, general secretary of the organization.

According to information gathered by RSF, Serguei Leibgrad, editor of the radio station Echo of Moscow in Samara ( in the region of Volga) and director of the weekly political satire programme „Metabola" which airs on the independent local television station Terra, was beaten up by unknown persons in front of his home on the night of the 5th of February. The attackers hit the journalist, stole all his documents and declared „ There you are, we’ve had you. Serguei Leibgrad is suffering from contusions on the head but the state of his health is not a cause for worry. The journalist does not rule out the fact that this attack is tied to his professional activities. In the televised program „Metabola", Serguei Leibgrad was very critical towards the mayor of Samara, Géorgui Limanski, denouncing the lack of transparency concerning the town budget and asserting that the mayor develops populist programmes without being concerned about the real needs of the population. The journalist had also voiced criticism against Alibert Macachov, an ultranationalist ex-deputy of the Douma of Samara. Serguei Leibgrad declared that he had already received threats by telephone calls from Albert Macachov, who called him a „Zionist" and who frequently called during his radio programmes. The inquiry has been opened by the local public prosecutor’s department.

RSF would like to make a reminder that the radio station , Echo of Moscow, that belongs to the group Media-Most of Vladimir Goussinski, is one of the few and rare Russian medias that are critical towards the government.

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