Russian reporter 'staged his beating': police
A Russian reporter who claimed to have been badly beaten after writing about a controversial road project staged the attack and may be charged for filing a false police report, officials said Wednesday.
But the reporter, Anatoly Adamchuk, vehemently denied this version of events and his newspaper said the accusations had been expected after he was harassed by police in hospital.
Adamchuk, who writes for the Zhukovskie Vesti in the Zhukovsky area of southeastern Moscow, reported being beaten early Monday, shortly after writing about a forest that officials want torn down in favour of a highway.
"The attack was initiated and orchestrated by the accusing party," the interior ministry branch for the Moscow area said in an official statement.
The ministry's spokesman for the Moscow region, Yevgeny Gildeyev, told Moscow Echo radio that Adamchuk had paid 1,000 rubles (about 33 dollars) to instigate the attack.
The spokesman said Adamchuk paid one man to another "fulfill the contract" and make it look like the reporter had been badly beaten about the head.
The beating occurred amid a furore created by the weekend attack on another reporter, Kommersant business daily correspondent Oleg Kashin.
He had also written extensively about highway project in another part of the Moscow area in which a forest risks being torn down.
President Dmitry Medvedev has made a priority of finding Kashin's assailants and the case has been treated as a major event by the state media.
But Adamchuk's case has received far less attention and the reporter himself appeared furious about Wednesday's police claims.
"This never happened. I refuse to comment on these despicable claims," Adamchuk told the Interfax news agency.
The interior ministry statement said that police had caught the two men allegedly hired by Adamchuk and that they had "already confessed."
It added that Adamchuk's case has been reopened on the basis of this new information and that charges against the reporter may soon be filed.
But Adamchuk said he was harassed by two policemen Tuesday night, who barged into his hospital room after 10:00 pm.
"They accused me of self-mutilation before more people barged in with video cameras and asked provocative questions," Adamchuk told colleague Sergei Subbotin, according to a recording posted on Zhukovskiye Vesti website.
"We awaited such a turn of events, because yesterday policemen already voiced this version," Subbotin told AFP.
"We will be waiting for a response from the prosecutor's office. What happened is unprecedented, to make a victim into an attacker," he said.
© 2010 AFP