Wednesday 19 December 2018

Moscow journalist put in coma after being stabbed

Journalists gathered at the entrance of the Ekho Moskvy radio station's office after Ms Felgenhauer was attacked (AP)
Journalists gathered at the entrance of the Ekho Moskvy radio station's office after Ms Felgenhauer was attacked (AP)

A top journalist at Russia's leading news radio station has been placed in a medically-induced coma after being stabbed in the throat by an attacker who burst into her studio.

The attack on Tatyana Felgenhauer, the deputy editor-in-chief at the Ekho Moskvy station , is the latest in a string of assaults on journalists or opposition activists in the Russian capital.

Ms Felgenhauer, 32, underwent surgery at a hospital and was put in medically-induced coma as doctors determine the best course of treatment, editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov said.

The attacker, after being apprehended, told investigators he had been in "telepathic contact with Felgenhauer" for five years.

To get into the building, the man sprayed gas in the face of a security guard at the entrance on the ground floor then went up to the 14th floor, where the station's studios are located.

"The man came here on purpose. He knew where he was going," Mr Venediktov told reporters.

Ms Felgenhauer is best known for co-hosting a popular morning show.

Ekho Moskvy is described as Russia's only independent news radio station. Its searing criticism has irked many in the Russian government and its hosts and journalists have previously reported death threats.

Another popular Ekho Moskvy host, Yulia Latynina, fled Russia in September following a suspected arson attack on her car.

The Investigative Committee, deals with high-profile crimes, said it is treating the attack as attempted murder.

A spokesman for the Russian prosecutor general's office described the attack as "outrageous" and said prosecutors will investigate the case closely.

The Tass news agency quoted Moscow police, however, as saying they suspect the man had a personal grudge against Ms Felgenhauer.

State-owned Russian media have long targeted Ekho Moskvy for its critical reporting.

The state television channel Rossiya 24 put out a report two weeks ago that described the station as an "arm of the US state department," saying it gets paid for "destabilising society" ahead of Russia's presidential election in March.

Columnist Oleg Kashin, who survived in a brutal attack in 2010 which was never properly investigated, told the Dozhd television station that Ms Felgenhauer's "blood is on the hands of people from Rossiya 24, too".

Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, said Russian authorities' failure to respond to the recurrent attacks and threats against independent journalists, activists and opposition leaders only makes further incidents more likely.


Press Association

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