Russian human rights worker beaten outside home

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 06, 2011 2:39 PM
Russian human rights worker beaten outside home

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian human rights worker was treated in hospital Monday after being beaten up in his apartment building, an attack his employer said was linked to his work.

Bakhrom Khamroyev, who works for the leading Russian rights group Memorial, was walking into the building when a group of strangers attacked him, spraying gas in his face and beating him on the head and legs.

Human rights groups say violence against their workers is increasing and the attackers are rarely punished. Khamroyev was attacked by members of the security forces in December.

"Memorial believes the attack on Bakhrom Khamroyev was planned in advance and prepared as a trap," Memorial said in a statement.

"In December last year, an attack was carried out on Khamroyev. A criminal case was opened but until today no one has been called to take responsibility."

Memorial chief Oleg Orlov told the Russian agency Interfax the attack "was obviously because of his professional activities."

The head of Amnesty International's Russia division on Monday called on authorities to find and punish those responsible for the beating.

"We hope a serious investigation will be carried out and that the guilty are punished," said Amnesty International Russia Chief Sergei Nikitin.

A Russian court sentenced an ultranationalist to life in prison last month for the murder of a human rights lawyer and a journalist who were shot dead in broad daylight on a Moscow street in 2009.

(Writing by Thomas Grove, editing by Tim Pearce)