Beaten Russian journalist acquitted of slander

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A Russian journalist who was left brain-damaged after a horrific beating was acquitted on appeal on Friday after a magistrates' court had convicted him of slander, Russian news agencies reported.

Mikhail Beketov, the editor of the Khimkinskaya Pravda weekly in the town of Khimki outside Moscow, was beaten in 2008 in an attack that left him confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak. None of the culprits have been found.

On Friday, Khimki town court acquitted Beketov of slander on appeal and ruled that he did not commit a crime, the Interfax news agency reported.

The reporter had written highly critical reports on local officials who supported controversial plans to build a highway through a forest in Khimki, a town outside Moscow.

In November a magistrates' court convicted him of slandering the Khimki mayor in a television interview and fined him 5,000 rubles (162 US dollars).

© 2010 AFP

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