Human rights worker beaten in Russia

7th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

An employee of leading Russian human rights group Memorial was beaten in Moscow in an attack linked to his work, his colleague said on Tuesday.

Bakhrom Khamroyev was attacked by several men in his apartment building late Monday, said his colleague Vitaly Ponomaryov.

The attackers sprayed gas in his face and beat him on the head and body, Ponomaryov said, adding that one of the assailants was armed with brass knuckles.

Khamroyev sought medical help but was not hospitalised, he said. "Of course today he's feeling worse than yesterday," Ponomaryov told AFP.

In a statement released Monday evening, Memorial said the attack was likely linked to Khamroyev's professional activities and was well-prepared.

The rights group said Khamroyev was scheduled to travel to the northern city of Murmansk to meet Yusup Kasymakhunov, an Uzbek national convicted of membership in the controversial militant Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Last December Khamroyev was beaten in an attack which involved employees of the FSB security service, said Memorial, adding no one has so far been held responsible for the beating.

Rights activists and opposition journalists have repeatedly been assaulted in Russia in the past.

Natalya Estemirova, who worked for Memorial and exposed abuses in the volatile North Caucasus region, was abducted in Chechnya and her bullet-ridden body was found close to a highway in neighbouring Ingushetia in 2009.

© 2011 AFP

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