Russian environmental activist stabbed near Moscow

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An activist and aide to a Russian lawmaker was brutally stabbed outside Moscow, her party said Friday, linking the assault to her political work.

The late Wednesday attack on Lyudmila Garifulina, a 63-year-old municipal deputy in Staraya Kupavna, a town about 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of Moscow, was the second in less than three months, Just Russia party said in a statement.

Garifulina was walking out of the building of the Noginsk district parliament when "someone ran up to her and stabbed her with a knife four times" in the chest, said the statement.

The party linked the incident, and a similar attack on her November 8, to Garifulina's "professional work" in the municipal parliament, including protecting a local forest from logging and resisting illegal construction projects.

Besides her local work Garifulina is an aide to senior Russian MP Valery Zubov of the Just Russia party.

District police in Moscow region's Noginsk said on Thursday that a 63-year old female had been hospitalised with a knife wound to the chest, and launched a probe into intentional bodily harm, a charge that carries up to eight years in jail.

Assaults on local activists protecting Moscow region's forests, receding due to the real estate value of the land, have attracted national spotlight in recent years, particularly in Khimki, a suburb north of the capital where ecologists tried to oppose the construction of a highway through a forest.

The leader of the movement to save the forest, local newspaper editor Mikhail Beketov, was beaten nearly to death in 2008 and had to learn how to speak again due to brain damage. He remains bound to a wheelchair.

Similar incidents have occured in Zhukovsky, another Moscow region city southeast of the capital where constant protests against logging forced the mayor to resign this week.

© 2013 AFP

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