Russian lawmaker hospitalised after beating: officials

23rd January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian investigators said Sunday they were looking into an incident in which a lawmaker and youth movement leader was beaten and received death threats in a night attack.

Nikita Slepnyov, a lawmaker from the small town of Noginsk just outside Moscow, suffered injuries when three unidentified assailants attacked him late Saturday, beating him and spraying his face with tear gas, the Moscow-based investigators said.

A father of three and head of the little-known youth movement Osa (Wasp), Slepnyov is also an aide to a member of the Russian parliament's lower house, the State Duma, who represents A Just Russia, a left-leaning pro-Kremlin party.

The party said that the MP's aide was hospitalised following the attack during which he also received death threats.

"If you do not shut up and continue we will kill you," the party quoted Slepnyov's attackers as telling him. The lawmaker's current responsibilities include issues related to increasing costs of housing and public utilities, the party said.

"There is no doubt that this crime is linked to Nikita Slepnyov's social and political activities," the party said in a statement late Saturday.

Oleg Mikheyev, the State Duma deputy for whom Slepnyov works, said he would personally oversee the case.

"It is very important that these and other political killers similar to them are found and punished to the fullest extent of the law," A Just Russia quoted Mikheyev as saying.

Human rights campaigners say attacks on activists and journalists are frequent in Russia and do not show any sign of subsiding due to the pervasive feeling of impunity prevailing in the country.

In November, Oleg Kashin, a Russian reporter with one of the country's top newspapers, Kommersant, was brutally attacked near his home in Moscow and had to be put into an induced coma for treatment.

© 2011 AFP

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