Monday 16 September 2019

Masked man tries to taser Russian election chief in her home

Ella Pamfilova was attacked. Photo: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo
Ella Pamfilova was attacked. Photo: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

Andrew Osborn

A masked man broke into the home of the head of Russia's Central Election Commission yesterday and repeatedly tried to taser her, the Interior Ministry said, two days before an election that has triggered street protests.

Russian investigators said they would look into whether the attack was connected to her work. The commission head, Ella Pamfilova, said she suspected robbery was the motive. Ms Pamfilova and her colleagues, citing a technicality, refused to register several opposition candidates for the Moscow city election, leading to the biggest sustained protest movement in Russia since 2011-2013.

"The masked intruder broke in through a window and got onto the house's terrace and repeatedly tasered the home owner (Pamfilova) and then fled," the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The house is situated outside Moscow.

An unnamed law enforcement source told the Interfax news agency that the taser device appeared not to have worked and the intruder had struck Ms Pamfilova several times. Ms Pamfilova (65) appeared on state television looking shaken up.

She said she had hurt her finger and scratched her side while grappling with her assailant and then resisting him with a chair.

She said the intruder was lanky and appeared to be young and that she believed the most likely motive was an attempted robbery.

Prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny said on social media he thought the authorities had invented the attack to distract attention from what he said was groundwork for electoral fraud in Moscow and other places where elections to local legislatures will be held.

Irish Independent

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