(RSF/IFEX) - In letters to Russian Minister of the Interior Vladimir Ruchaylo and Vladimir Semenov, president of the republic of Karatchayevo-Tcherkessie, RSF protested the 14 October 2000 assault on Magomet Tekeyev, editor-in-chief of an independent daily in Karatchayevo-Tcherkessie.
"We ask you to take all the necessary measures to identify and pursue Magomet Tekeyev's attackers, and keep us informed of any developments in the investigation," said Robert Ménard, the organisation's secretary-general. "Independent media are the target of ever increasing pressure from regional and local authorities throughout the Russian Federation," deplored Ménard.
According to information collected by RSF, Tekeyev, editor-in-chief of the independent daily "Gorskiye Vedomosti", was brutally and repeatedly assaulted with a club and a bag filled with nails and screws in front of his residence in Tcherkesk, the Karatchayevo-Tcherkessie republic's capital. This Russian Federation republic is located north of Georgia. Tekeyev's colleagues believe that the attack is linked to his work as a journalist, as he has repeatedly denounced corruption in the top echelons of the republic in his articles.
RSF recalled that several journalists have been assassinated in Russia this year. On 12 May, journalist Alexander Yefremov was killed by a remote-control mine in the south-east of Chechnya (see IFEX alert of 16 May 2000). On 16 July, Igor Domnekov, a journalist with "Novaya Gazeta", was mortally wounded after receiving threats (see alerts of 24 and 17 July and 16 May 2000). Two other journalist have been assassinated, but it is unclear to date if their deaths are linked to their journalism activities. On 26 July, Sergei Novikov, director of the independent radio station Vesna, in the Smolensk region, was shot and killed (see alerts of 28 and 27 July 2000). On 21 September, Iskandar Khatloni, a Radio Liberty journalist in Moscow, was found dead with his his head smashed in (see alert of 22 September). None of the investigations into these cases have yielded any concrete results to date, and the journalists' killers remain unpunished.